A team of students and staff from the University of Bristol are designing a volcano monitoring satellite as part of the University’s satellite programme. The project, initially funded by the UK Space Agency, will take several years to complete.
Many different disciplines collaborate within this project. Work is done both within the curriculum, for instance as undergraduate projects in Aerospace and Electrical Engineering, as well as with student societies outside of teaching hours.
The science objective is to track and image volcanic ash clouds in thermal infrared (IR) from multiple angles to create a 3D models of ash clouds. Knowledge of the ash cloud properties, such as ash concentration, will improve forecasting of ash dispersion and avoid hazards for civil aircraft.
- Tracking of Earth-based targets requires a precise Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS) for satellite pointing.
- Infrared imaging is challenging on a CubeSat platform due to its small size, which limits cooling and calibration mechanisms.