AN ANDOVER student has designed a satellite to be launched into space.
Chris Hanbury-Williams is part of a team of engineering students from the University of Warwick who designed the satellite, selected to be launched 100km into space next year.
The third and fourth-year engineering students beat off stiff competition from undergraduate, post-graduate and PhD teams from all over Europe to be selected among the nine student projects to be taken into space by a European Space Agency (ESA) rocket.
Chris said: “As far as we are aware we are the only solely undergraduate team to have been chosen to launch their own experiment into space with ESA.
“Now we’ve been selected, our work has only just started. We have to design and build the satellite and all its electronic and communication systems – no mean feat seeing as the final satellite will measure just a few centimetres.
“But we’re all hugely excited about the launch, as it’s not every day you get to take part in a space mission.”
The team, aged between 20 and 22, are building their own satellite known as WUSAT2 (Warwick University Satellite Team) complete with electronics, communications and sensor systems which they are also constructing themselves.
The satellite, measuring just 10cm by 10cm by 20cm, will be launched by the ESA rocket REXUS, due to take off from Esrange (Swedish National Space Centre) in spring 2015.
Director of WUSAT Dr Bill Crofts said: “Being selected for the ESA launch is a great achievement on behalf of all the students in the group.
“We want our engineering students to get hands-on experience of working on the kinds of projects they will be working on when they go out into the working world after graduation.
“Students from different engineering disciplines – such as manufacturing, electronics and mechanical engineering – all work together as they would in a real-life working environment.
“It’s this experience, as well as the engineering knowledge the students are gaining, that is very valuable to employers.”
The launch gives other departments within the university the opportunity to carry out experiments as the satellite descends from its launch altitude of 100km back down to earth above the Arctic Circle.
The Warwick Satellite Team is a long-running project within Warwick’s School of Engineering, which has seen successive teams working on the design and build of satellites over the last eight years.
The team spent six years designing the electrical power supply system for ESA’s ESMO satellite – designed to orbit the moon – and they are now in their second year of designing and building Warwick’s own WUSAT satellite.