If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Satellites to use Kinect in orbital docking system

Scientists creating "space building blocks".

UK engineers are preparing to dock two orbiting satellites using technology stripped from Microsoft's Kinect camera.

STRaND-1.

Space innovators at the Univeristy of Surrey and Surry Satellite Technology are developing STRaND, a twin-satellite mission to test the new docking technique.

Each STRaND satellite is constructed from low-cost parts found in consumer devices, with STRaND-1 using a Google Nexus phone as its onboard computer.

STRaND-1 is due for launch later this year, with its identical shoebox-sized twin STRaND-2 now in development. The pair's Kinect-based technology will scan the local area and provide the satellites with 3D spatial awareness to align themselves and dock together.

Scientists behind the project hope that the technology could be used to launch intelligent "space building blocks" that can be remotely stacked together and reconfigured to build larger modular spacecraft.

"It may seem far-fetched, but our low cost nanosatellites could dock to build large and sophisticated modular structures such as space telescopes," project lead Dr Chris Bridges explained. "Unlike today's big space missions, these could be reconfigured as mission objectives change, and upgraded in-orbit with the latest available technologies."

The STRaND satellite in action.

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Tagged With

About the Author

Tom Phillips avatar

Tom Phillips

Deputy Editor

Tom is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

Comments

More News

Latest Articles

Supporters Only

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer.net Merch