SPRINT: The Space Environment and Spacecraft Electronics

KISPE Space Systems Limited (“KISPE Space”), a Farnborough-based programme and systems engineering company, has signed up the national SPRINT business support programme. The SPRINT funding will enable KISPE Space to collaborate with the Surrey Space Centre (SSC) at the University of Surrey on an innovative project to identify a microprocessor that can be used in the next wave of new small satellite missions. 

Microprocessors that have been designed to be radiation-hardened for the harsh space environment are expensive and tend to have poor performance compared to Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) microprocessors that leverage the latest innovations in microprocessor technology. 

The new processor identified in the SPRINT project will be used in KISPE Space’s design of a Next Generation Microsatellite Platform that aims to deliver a microsatellite platform for a cubesat price. The results of the project will be shared with the space community as part of KISPE Space’s Open Source Satellite Programme to stimulate the next wave of missions, applications and services. 

KISPE Space will utilise the University of Surrey Radiation and Environmental Effects Facility (REEF) that tests components against electron and cumulative radiation dose effects in a realistic fashion, simulating the harsh radiation environment in space. 

The project will be funded by a grant from the £4.8 million SPRINT (SPace Research and Innovation Network for Technology) programme that provides unprecedented access to university space expertise and facilities. SPRINT helps businesses through the commercial exploitation of space data and technologies. 

Dr. John Paffett, KISPE Space Founder and Managing Director commented: “KISPE Space and SSC aim to identify one or more commercially-available and affordable microprocessors that can perform robustly in a space environment and enable the wide range of missions, from vLEO to Lunar that are being envisaged by teams around the world. 

“We’ve been able to align our project idea with the University of Surrey’s expertise and the support of the SPRINT programme. The project will provide us with a mechanism to incubate our ideas and move forwards into new strategic developments.” 

Dr. Keith Ryden, Reader in Space Engineering at SSC and the Principal Investigator for this project from the University of Surrey added: “Surrey Space Centre is delighted to team with KISPE Space on this project to combine pure research with market needs, to identify solutions that can be commercialised to help teams around the world to develop robust satellite platforms to enable a wide range of challenging missions.” 

Open Source Satellite's Paul Made on the work to date: The Space Environment and Spacecraft Electronics


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