back to article Blighty in SPAAAACE: Brit-built satellite films the Earth

Youtube Video of the satellite footage of the planet Earth. An experiment-filled Brit satellite has released a minute-long video of planet Earth – the first images of our home world captured by an entirely UK-built spacecraft. The TechDemoSat-1, made by Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL), filmed the short sequence moments …

  1. Richard Taylor 2 Silver badge


    Have done wonders. I knew several people working for them (BBC micros being used to run parts of the system and various engineers having to be up at strange times of the night to cope with timing issues). But commercial success was difficult - in part because of a technically illiterate government (still in power)

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Like much of the sat’s components, the camera is cobbled together from off-the-shelf components that have been ruggedised to withstand the rigours of space."

    Assembled in a basement workshop under West Wallaby Street, I assume. Britain: Where science imitates art.

  3. Alan Brown Silver badge

    SSTL are just the integrators

    The instruments on the bird have come from labs all across the UK

    Disclosure: My employer has one onboard

    The funny thing is that SSTL have been using our environmental chambers recently because theirs aren't big enough for the job.

    Fire: because that's what got it up there.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    Space Sector

    Does this mean the British Government has finally realized that space is up there and may be quite lucrative?

    1. John G Imrie

      Re: Space Sector

      I get the feeling that this gets done despite of, rather than because of, our beloved leaders.

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Space Sector

      No, this happened *despite* the government. Our government will remain disinterested in space until it figures out how to impose a hefty taxation.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Space Sector

      "Does this mean the British Government has finally realized that space is up there and may be quite lucrative?"


      The UK has the smallest space budget of any spacefaring EU country - it's at the level of a flagwaving exercise, not serious investment.

      Beagle stands out as a case in point. It got to mars in spite of govt funding, not because of it(*) - and if govt funding had been forthcoming sooner than it did, it wouldn't have been equipped with _used_ airbags, which in all liklihood froze solid on the way to mars, thereby failing to inflate.

      (*) Govt money came onboard only when it was clear that Beagle was going to Mars anyway and by stumping up the cash they could claim it as a "wonderful british project". Even then they nearly killed the lander entirely by delaying things and only coming up with the money too late for new airbags to be manufactured in time for integration/launch.

      SSTL is a commercial outfit which relies on contract income from EU and other investors - there is virtually no input direct from the UK and what comes from the ESA and chums is directly proportional to the amount of money the UK puts into the EU pot (SSTL could do a lot more, but the EU rules limit how much business can be punted their way, so they're very keen to get private money, which has no such restrictions)

      This bird is a testbed, aimed at proving a few points, but there's no guarantee decent funding will happen as a result of it.

      Despite many notable sucesses., many of the UK's best space engineers and scientists are regularly faced with the hard choice of finding employment for overseas agencies or finding a completely different career path in the UK, as you can't eat passion for a job and living from hand to mouth on 60-100 hour weeks and substandard pay eventually burns people out.

    4. cortland

      Re: Space Sector

      What, don't they already tax space there?

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    To all those who complained about JJ Abrams, look at all that lens-flare? Of course he also likes to have it inside his ships...

    Once Lohan gets off the ground, these images will be put in their place, and SST will be shown up for the puny organisation they are, in comparison to the mighty Vultures.

    1. John G Imrie


      Don't know weather to up-vote you for bigging up El Reg or down vote you for dissing the UK space boffins.

  6. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Beers all round then

    Mine's a Doombar

  7. iranu

    Astrium (formerly Matra Marconi Space) has been building payloads for decades in plants at Stevenage and Portsmouth. I used to work for them. Some of us used to etch our names/signatures into the extruded aluminium alloy wave guides using a vibro-etching pen, so for example, if your satellite dish is pointed at Astra 2B for the telly, somewhere up there is my signature floating in the void!

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "somewhere up there is my signature floating in the void!"

      ...and when the overlords arrive they'll find a convenient list of names to get started on....

    2. KrisMac

      So that's what causes...

      ..the squiggly lines in the signal interference noise pattern...

      *No worries: I'm just jealous that the Overlords won't get to see my name up there :-( *

  8. Mark 85 Silver badge


    If I read the article and the commentards correctly, would this be considered garden shed boffinry?

    1. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Question

      "If I read the article and the commentards correctly, would this be considered garden shed boffinry?"

      Quite - and I could even show you the garden sheds (literally) where some of the boffinry takes place.

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