Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and NASA have demonstrated the ability to use standard Internet protocols to communicate with a satellite.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center used the Internet to link with SSTL's UoSAT 12 mini-satellite, the first spacecraft to have its own Internet address. The demonstration was intended to show the use of Internet protocols and technologies to support NASA's goal of operating "faster, better, cheaper" missions and the possibility of future collaborative observations from multiple spacecraft.

Meanwhile, SSTL's first nano-satellite SNAP 1 is being completed for launch next month aboard a Russian Cosmos from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. The 6kg (13lb) satellite, which has advanced micro-miniature global positioning system navigation, on-board computing, propulsion and attitude control technologies, is equipped with a machine vision system capable of inspecting other spacecraft.

SNAP will rendezvous after launch with another SSTL-built satellite, Tsinghua 1, to demonstrate formation flying. This will pave the way for the development of micro-nano satellite swarms and orbital constellations, says SSTL.

The UK company has also won a contract from Germany's DLR to manufacture and supply the attitude control momentum wheel for the European Space Agency's Rosetta comet lander, due to be launched in 2004.

Source: Flight International