Look up into the night sky and you could be meeting the eyes of some of Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) latest work. Director of the Satellite Research Centre(SaRC) Professor Low Kay Soon and his team from the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering have launched two new satellites to monitor Earth’s climate, test new navigation and communications systems and evaluate hardware to better protect satellites’ memory.
VELOX-CI and VELOX-II are EEE’s fifth and sixth satellites since 2011, when its Satellite Research Centre (SaRC) launched the X-Sat, Singapore’s first locally-built satellite. The two VELOXes hitchhiked on the Indian Space Research Organisation’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, which was sent into space from India’s Satish Dhawan Space Centre in December 2015.
The mini-fridge-sized, 123kg VELOX-CI will orbit Earth for three years and gather data about Asia’s tropical weather and climate, such as its upper atmospheric temperature and humidity. It will also test EEE’s new Global Positioning System technology that can determine a satellite’s position and velocity more accurately, down to millimetres per second.
The smaller, 12kg VELOX-II carries an innovative data relay system by Singaporean firm Addvalue Innovation. Traditional satellite communications systems that use radio signals require a line of sight, which means that a satellite would only be able to link to NTU, for example, when it is near Singapore.
A satellite with the Addvalue system could contact NTU from anywhere in the world. VELOX-II will also be used to evaluate new radiation-resistant hardware designed by EEE to protect data stored in a satellite’s memory. Energetic particles found in space and caused by cosmic rays and solar flares could erode satellites’ memory and lead to mission failures. The hardware is an integrated circuit that can detect and correct small errors in the memory.
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