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University of Surrey awarded grant for three spacecraft

1 August 2000


	Congratulations to CSER (Centre for Spacecraft Engineering Research)
and SSTL (Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd) at the University of Surrey for
receiving funding for several new projects.  The funding includes an award
of $18M towards the construction of three new spacecraft -- Gemini, Topsat
and DMC -- and $100M as prime contractor for the 4 satellite constellation
called RapidEye.  If the name University of Surrey doesn't ring a bell just
look up -- many of the spacecraft currently available to the International
Radio Amateur Community, including UO-11, UO-14, UO-22, KO-23, KO-25, TO-31
and UO-36, were built at, or in cooperation with, CSER/SSTL.

	Gemini is a small geostationary communications satellite, Topsat is
an LEO spacecraft featuring high resolution imagery, and DMC is a prototype
for an LEO (D)isaster (M)onitoring
(C)onstellation.  For additional information see "UK Picks Some Micro
Winners For Space Funding" and "RapidEye Uses Surrey Design" at

	In the past CSER/SSTL has devoted a great deal of effort to
providing the Radio Amateur Community with access to UoSAT's.  However, it's
important to note that this can only be done when/if SSTL/CSER can justify
these actions to the commercial groups and government agencies providing the
funding.  I therefore believe that it is extremely important that the
Amateur Community give serious thought to ways in which we can assist
SSTL/CSER in providing the needed justification.

	For example, we could organize a small group of radio amateurs
operating automated ground stations connected to the Internet who could
gather and forward downlink telemetry directly to Surrey.  Depending on the
nature of the data this receive only function could be on amateur
frequencies (when appropriate) or nearby commercial frequencies.  This
service could greatly reduce UoS's need to  repeat downlink data and thereby
greatly increase effective downlink throughput.  I'm sure there are many
other ways we (Radio Amateurs, educators and scientists who value of the
Amateur Satellite Service) can assist CSER/SSTL but this is the first one
that occurs to me.

	I would like to state that the opinions expressed here are entirely
my own.  They have not been cleared with CSER/SSTL, AMSAT, ARRL, IARU or any
other organization. 

de K2ubc (Martin Davidoff)
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