NASA intends to use the Surrey Satellite Technology-built UK-DMC spacecraft, launched in 2003, for research on space-based disruption-tolerant sensor networking over the next three years.

NASA's Glenn Research Center wants to procure spacecraft configuration and experimentation support services for the UK spacecraft, which is part of the disaster monitoring constellation.

The constellation consists of five SSTL-designed spacecraft. Four are owned and operated by the Algerian, Chinese, Nigerian, and Turkish governments, while the UK's satellite is owned and operated by SSTL through the government's British National Space.

NASA will work with the US Army's space and missile defence battlelab because it has a ground station capable of communicating with UK-DMC.

"There is a lot of interest in exploringmicro satellites for rapid revisit capabilities. Various arms of the [US] government are looking at it," says DMC International Imaging, an SSTL company that provides services using the constellation.

The DMC satellites provide Earth observation services, and are able to revisit any location in the world daily. This is possible with only five satellites because they are designed to image a large area of up to 600 x 600km (370 x 370 miles).

The SSTL satellite uses a Cisco low-Earth orbit internet protocol router, and the company will have to configure its satellite to exchange data at the correct transfer rate. The UK-DMC's solid-state recorders will also be used for the research, which will involve ground stations in Australia, Hawaii, Japan, Colorado, USA and the UK.

Last month SSTL was awarded a contract for Russia's Kanopus-B satellite and has recently won orders for the Nigerian National Space Research and Development Agency's NigeriaSat-2 an additional DMC satellite for Spanish company Deimos and a follow-on contract for a second European Space Agency Galileo in-orbit validation satellite.

Source: Flight International