Optical Imaging

High-resolution multispectral camera system with TDI CMOS image sensor

Flagship – 11th Call (In Progress)
Lead Organisation: Teledyne e2v partnered by SSTL & The Open University

This project will produce a prototype instrument to demonstrate a novel imaging system incorporating Time Delay and Integration (TDI) CMOS image sensor technology. This technology allows for small pixels on an inherently radiation-hard, low power and highly integrated platform.

Fast Slew Gimbaled Optics for Real-time EO

Flagship – 11th Call (In Progress)
Lead Organisation: Surrey Space Centre (University of Surrey) partnered by In-Space Missions

The proposing team – Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and In-Space Missions Limited (ISML) – has identified both an urgent specific need and large market for a zoomable, fast slew, gimbaled video and still camera system. This product is designated ‘Nimble’. The project is developing the mechanisms, optics and interfaces to deliver a protoflight model of the Nimble system.

OVERPaSS: On-board VidEo Rapid ProceSSing

Flagship – 11th Call (In Progress)
Lead Organisation: Earth-i Limited partnered with University College London, Cortexica Visions Systems Ltd. & Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

The objective of the project is to implement, test and demonstrate ultra-high-resolution optical image analysis techniques, involving both software and dedicated hardware such as Graphical Processing Units (GPUs). The project will also determine the extent to which these capabilities could be deployed on-board British optical imaging satellites in future, with a roadmap for inclusion in a forthcoming constellation.

Compact Multispectral Imager for Nanosatellites II

Flagship – 11th Call (In Progress)
Lead Organisation: University of Strathclyde partnered with Wideblue Ltd.

The key goals of the project are to demonstrate the application of SP techniques to MSI instruments suitable for nanosatellite deployment and provide high capability at lower cost. The team will continue translation of terrestrial SP technology (begun under UKSA NSTP-3 funding) to design and build a prototype and characterise its performance.

A New Generation of Deployable Optical Systems to Increase Small Satellite Capability

Fast Track – 10th Call (Completed 2019)
Lead Organisation: Surrey Space Centre (University of Surrey) partnered by SSTL

The objective of this project is to develop a physical proof of concept of a deployable optical system to pave the way to its implementation in a real SSTL demonstration mission. This mainly utilized as building blocks technologies that are known, with the main innovation at system level, bringing together all the elements, with the necessary modifications to realize a system that meets the end-to-end requirements, thus de-risking its use in real missions to a level compatible with SSTL business model.

SuperRes-EO: Super-resolution for high resolution EO imaging for targeted and global applications

Fast Track – 10th Call (Completed 2018)
Lead Organisation: MSSL partnered by SSTL

In the CEOI 10 SuperRes-EO project, a novel SRR system called MAGiGAN was developed and demonstrated to improve native image resolution by 3-5 times using multi-pass Earth observation (EO) images or video sequences. MAGiGAN stands for Multi-Angle Gotcha image restoration with Generative Adversarial Network.

Smart optics for Satellite Applications

Pathfinder – 10th Call (Completed 2018)
Lead Organisation: University of Oxford partnered by SSTL

The team has developed a fully automated alignment algorithm for a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope that will reduce the in-factory alignment time from days to minutes. This will reduce the cost and time required when building the telescope. The same procedure can be applied to other telescope designs.

Onboard Data Autonomy for Next Generation of EO Nanosatellites

Pathfinder – 10th Call (Completed 2018)
Lead Organisation: Craft Prospect partnered by UCL, University of Manchester & Bright Ascension Ltd.

Craft Prospect led a consortium investigating emerging technologies and techniques for enabling onboard data autonomy targeted for the low resources available on nanosatellites.  The work surveyed existing missions and techniques, and looked out of sector including algorithms used in autonomous vehicles and commercial machine learning. 

Low Cost EO Development for High Resolution Imaging

Flagship – 8th Call (Completed in 2018)
Lead Organisation: SSTL

The work conducted has included progressing the design and engineering of the low cost optical Precision Imager payload and an innovative high-throughput Payload Data Handling Unit (PDHU), and the development of an Inter-Satellite Link (ISL) allowing the IP for these systems to remain with SSTL. The project has given SSTL the opportunity to ensure the design of SSTL-1000 platform is of sufficient maturity to take maximum advantage of near term Earth observation constellation opportunities which will bring benefit to both SSTL and the wider UK space industry, particularly in the Earth observation technology and applications sectors.