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  1. ITV Report

OU and Essex engineers to develop new space camera

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The region's space industry has just received another shot in the arm thanks to the UK Space Agency.

Researchers at the Open University and engineers in Chelmsford have been awarded a £1m grant to develop a new prototype camera to observe the Earth from Space.

It will be created by the Centre for Electronic Imaging (CEI) at the OU, Teledyne e2v from Chelmsford, UK and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited.

It comes just weeks after Airbus Space and Defence in Stevenage were awarded projects to create a hi-tech harpoon to remove unwanted space junk in orbit around the earth and as the Government unveiled the country's first ever space port.

An artist impression of the new space port Credit: Lockheed Martin

The OU's Senior Research Fellow, Dr Konstantin Stefanov, said the project would be to create a prototype camera.

This is a very exciting project for the CEI, and is our first collaboration with SSTL, a world-leading manufacturer of small satellites.

The development of the sensor flight electronics is expected to bring in new know-how and increase the capabilities of the CEI in the areas of space instrumentation and Earth observation.

– Dr Konstantin Stefanov

The CEI’s role is to build the flight electronics in close partnership with SSTL, and to perform full electro-optical and radiation characterisation of the sensor.

The result will be an engineering model of an Earth observation camera integrated with SSTL's newest optical telescope that could be further developed to a flight model for a future technology demonstration mission.

The project should be completed by next June.