Nav: Home

NUS takes the quantum leap into space

December 16, 2015

Singapore, 16 December 2015 - Two satellites designed and built by students, researchers and faculty from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have been successfully launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh, India, on Wednesday, 16 December 2015 at 8.30pm (Singapore time). These are the University's first satellites in space, and they are part of six Singapore satellites that were launched in the same operation.

The Singapore satellites were deployed by the polar satellite launch vehicle of the Indian Space Research Organisation into a near-equatorial orbit.

Galassia, a two-kilogramme nanosatellite, was developed by students and researchers from the Faculty of Engineering; Centre for Remote Imaging, Sensing & Processing (CRISP); and Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT). Kent Ridge 1, a 77.2-kilogramme microsatellite, was developed jointly by the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and CRISP, together with partners including Berlin Space Technologies, Nanyang Polytechnic and ST Electronics (Satcom and Sensors Systems) Private Limited. Both satellites are flying 550 kilometres above the Earth, on an orbital plane that has an inclination of about 15 degrees. The near-equatorial orbit that these two satellites will be orbiting will provide high revisit rates for its ground operations.

Professor Chua Kee Chaing, Dean of the NUS Faculty of Engineering, said, "The successful deployment of NUS' first two satellites - Galassia and Kent Ridge 1 - in space is a proud moment for all of us and a remarkable endeavour by NUS faculty, researchers and students. Achieving this quantum leap in space R&D is an excellent demonstration of NUS' strong capabilities in engineering and satellite technologies. The joint launch of six Singapore satellites into space is also a great celebration of Singapore's Golden Jubilee, marking the significant progress of Singapore's nascent space industry."

Galassia: NUS engineering students taking on the space challenge

Galassia, an experimental cube-satellite, was developed by a team of 30 final-year engineering students pursuing the Satellite System Design track under the Design-Centric Programme of the NUS Faculty of Engineering, together with six research engineers over a period of about four years beginning in 2012.

This satellite will carry two payloads. The first is a quantum science payload developed and flown in a satellite for the first time by NUS' Centre for Quantum Technologies (CQT). It will test out a quantum-based communication concept using Small Photon-Entangling Quantum System (SPEQS). The second is a Total Electron Content (TEC) electronic payload designed by NUS Engineering students. This payload will measure the total number of electrons above Singapore in the ionosphere, knowledge of which can be used to improve GPS navigation as well as radio communication.

The operational mission life of this satellite is expected to be between six to 12 months, during which payload data will be collected and analysed.

Professor Goh Cher Hiang, Project Director of the NUS Satellite Programme at the NUS Faculty of Engineering, said, "Creating a space-ready engineering system goes beyond nuts and bolts. The Galassia project brings together students from various engineering disciplines to apply what they have learnt in a real-life setting, and challenges them to innovate and push boundaries. The successful launch of Galassia is a strong endorsement of NUS' space engineering education and we hope that this will also inspire more talented students who are passionate about space R&D to pursue their interest in this field."

Kent Ridge 1: The "eyes" in space

Kent Ridge 1 is a hyper-spectral imaging micro-satellite designed to conduct scientific experimentation and analysis of Earth's surface characteristics. With the capability to break down colour into its constituent components, this satellite is able to collect information on what is happening to the planet when sunlight is decomposed into its constituent wavelengths. This is useful for detecting changes in soil, vegetation, volcanoes, water temperatures and fire.

Most hyper-spectral cameras flown in space are large, bulky, complex and expensive. They are usually carried in big spacecrafts with mass of about one tonne. In comparison, Kent Ridge 1 is a micro-satellite with a mass of 77.2-kilogramme, much smaller than conventional hyper-spectral satellites.

The operational mission life of this satellite is expected to be two years, during which scientific experiments will be carried out.

Breaking new grounds in satellite technology and education

Not resting on their laurels, NUS faculty and researchers are already planning to develop the second generation of Galassia and Kent Ridge 2, with the aim of achieving new technological breakthroughs with these projects.

The follow-on project for Galassia will involve the development of a six-unit nano-satellite with enhanced capability such as propulsion and attitude control together with an optical mission for high resolution imaging. The propulsion feature being considered also has the potential to undertake an interplanetary mission, such as flying a nano-satellite to explore the Moon.

For Kent Ridge 2, the NUS team would explore incorporating high resolution multi-spectral imaging.
-end-


National University of Singapore

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering a new cancer detection tool
E. coli may have potentially harmful effects but scientists in Australia have discovered this bacterium produces a toxin which binds to an unusual sugar that is part of carbohydrate structures present on cells not usually produced by healthy cells.
Engineering heart valves for the many
The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the University of Zurich announced today a cross-institutional team effort to generate a functional heart valve replacement with the capacity for repair, regeneration, and growth.
Geosciences-inspired engineering
The Mackenzie Dike Swarm and the roughly 120 other known giant dike swarms located across the planet may also provide useful information about efficient extraction of oil and natural gas in today's modern world.
Engineering success
Academically strong, low-income would-be engineers get the boost they need to complete their undergraduate degrees.
HKU Engineering Professor Ron Hui named a Fellow by the UK Royal Academy of Engineering
Professor Ron Hui, Chair Professor of Power Electronics and Philip Wong Wilson Wong Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, has been named a Fellow by the Royal Academy of Engineering, UK, one of the most prestigious national academies.
Engineering a better biofuel
The often-maligned E. coli bacteria has powerhouse potential: in the lab, it has the ability to crank out fuels, pharmaceuticals and other useful products at a rapid rate.
Pascali honored for contributions to engineering education
Raresh Pascali, instructional associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Technology Program at the University of Houston, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Ross Kastor Educator Award.
Scaling up tissue engineering
A team at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A.
Engineering material magic
University of Utah engineers have discovered a new kind of 2-D semiconducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that also consume a lot less power.
Engineering academic elected a Fellow of the IEEE
A University of Bristol academic has been elected a Fellow of the world's largest and most prestigious professional association for the advancement of technology.

Related Engineering Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Moving Forward
When the life you've built slips out of your grasp, you're often told it's best to move on. But is that true? Instead of forgetting the past, TED speakers describe how we can move forward with it. Guests include writers Nora McInerny and Suleika Jaouad, and human rights advocate Lindy Lou Isonhood.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#527 Honey I CRISPR'd the Kids
This week we're coming to you from Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. There, host Bethany Brookshire led a panel of three amazing guests to talk about the promise and perils of CRISPR, and what happens now that CRISPR babies have (maybe?) been born. Featuring science writer Tina Saey, molecular biologist Anne Simon, and bioethicist Alan Regenberg. A Nobel Prize winner argues banning CRISPR babies won’t work Geneticists push for a 5-year global ban on gene-edited babies A CRISPR spin-off causes unintended typos in DNA News of the first gene-edited babies ignited a firestorm The researcher who created CRISPR twins defends...