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University of Bradford has plans to launch a mini-satellite into space by 2023

By Eric Van Rees - 21st February 2022 - 10:21

Students enrolling on the University of Bradford’s (England) new Renduchintala Centre for Space AI MSc Satellite Systems Engineering programme - due to launch in September 2022 - could benefit from £10,000-a-year scholarships and work with industry experts, including Airbus.

The centre’s director has also set out ambitious plans to develop and launch a miniature satellite, known as a pocket cube, into space, possibly by 2023.

The palm sized devices, no bigger than a Rubik’s Cube, contain an array of instruments, and because of their size, they are much cheaper to launch than larger satellites.

Prof Fun Hu, the programme leader and inaugural centre director of the recently established Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI, is a former satellite systems engineer.

She said it was important for Bradford - and the UK - to be at the forefront of space research.

“The Bradford-Renduchintala Centre for Space AI will create a new centre of expertise in West Yorkshire, in an area of research which is going to become increasingly important in the coming years, especially now the UK has left the EU and therefore has lost access to several EU satellite navigation programmes, including Galileo and the European Geostationary Navigation Overlay Service (EGNOS).

“There is an expectation that the Government will invest heavily in the space sector over the next five to ten years to establish the UK as a global space leader.

“It is important to keep up with technological advances and to have a niche area in which Bradford can have expertise. One of our modules is to do with using AI to design satellites, which again is something that will become the norm in the near future.”

Prof Hu, who is Head of Biomedical and Electronics Engineering Department in the Faculty of Engineering & Informatics, added that she has already been in touch with a launch company with a view to putting a Bradford-designed pocket cube satellite payload into space by 2023.

She added: “It is something we are keen to do, and we have already been in touch with a launch company about the possibility.”

MSc students who sign up to the course will be able to apply for a £10,000 scholarship for the one-year course, which could also include paid work experience with Satellite Applications Catapult - a network of UK technology and innovation companies - and the chance to work on projects overseen by Airbus.

Read More: Satellite Imaging Education & Research

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