- UCL MSSL News September 2011
- MSSL Launches its new website
- Observations of plasma jet braking by Cluster
- ESA's ERS-2 satellite taken out of service after 16 year mission
- Making contact with the only British launched satellite
- Space telescopes reveal secrets of turbulent black hole
- UCL MSSL News October 2011
- MSSL News December 2011
- MSSL News January 2012
- MSSL News February 2012
- MSSL News May 2012
- MSSL News June 2012
- MSSL News August 2012
- MSSL News October 2012
- MSSL News April 2013
- MSSL News May 2013
Making contact with the only British launched satellite
28 October 2011
Today is the 40th anniversary of Britain as a spacefaring nation. On the 28th of October 1971, the UK launched Prospero - a science and technology demonstration satellite - on top of a Black Arrow rocket from Woomera, Australia. This made the UK the 6th nation to demonstrate a working orbital launch capability. However, this launch was to be first and last demonstration of Britain's capability.
To commemorate the anniversary, a team at UCL Mullard Space Science Laboratory are attempting to re-establish contact with Prospero, the only satellite ever to be launched by a British rocket. This comes 15 years after the decommissioning of the Prospero groundstation at Lasham, Hampshire. The MSSL team have re-engineered the ground segment from original documents and satellite know how.
For the last fortnight, the MSSL team has been attempting to make contact with the satellite, however the age, position and increase in electromagnetic interferance over the last 40 years has made this difficult. The team has detected some signals in the direction of the satellite and are now working to determine if these signals are from Prospero itself. Over the coming months, the satellite's orbit will change so that it will be on closest approach to the Earth over the UK, making the conditions more favourable for contact.
MSSL Contact: Roger Duthie, rjad [a t] mssl.ucl.ac.uk
Coverage on BBC's One Show (Friday 9th September, starting approx 31 mins into show), available until Friday 16th September
Page last modified on 13 sep 11 09:29