back to article New Brit nano-satellite to use Xbox Kinect for docking in space

Boffins at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) have come up with a second zany satellite in their STRaND line, which will use Xbox Kinect technology to hook up with another satellite in space. Bits and pieces of the STRaND-1 nanosatellite Bits and pieces of the STRaND-1 nanosatellite STRaND, or Surrey Training Research and …

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It's bright up here...

I wonder if radiation and heat will become a problem? It's probably more than you get from the mobile phone on it's own. ;)

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Bit surprising

I doubt it'll last long or that it's even designed to last long, space tends to have a bit of a radiation problem.

That's why satellites, spacecraft etc usually use these kind of processors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAD750

Instead of off the shelf consumer kit, because the radiation messes up and has a nasty tendency of killing normal microprocessors.

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Re: Bit surprising

Not exactly true. The orbits most of SSTL craft fly in is Low Earth Orbit (LEO) with an altitude of around 700km. This orbit is relatively benign. You only need to start looking to used rad-hard components in higher orbits (MEO or beyond)

Intel 368 processors have been used successfully in this orbit, with missions that exceed 4 years service.

http://microsat.sm.bmstu.ru/e-library/SSTL/Subsys_OBC386.pdf

I'm sure you can search for other instances of the use of this processor, and longer mission lifetimes than this.

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Go

Re: Bit surprising

Mark C Casey is true hunderd percent true ill be obey his order anyway i have got lots of designing information and tips from your forum

thanks for this

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Great idea

Outer space is pretty much the only place with enough room for Kinect to work properly.

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What's that overhead?

Is it a Dyson swarm?

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Nice idea, but...

As has been mentioned, the radiation issue.

Also Kinect doesn't have a long range and there is also a lot of IR interference on orbit.

Protecting the optics in sun facing positions will be challenging.

It's why Radar is the preferred solution, if expensive.

Using the ACC (Adaptive cruise control) unit from high end cars would be another possibility.

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Silver badge

Re: Nice idea, but...

> As has been mentioned, the radiation issue.

That was my first thought. However, the article says it is for docking the satellite, presumably something that happens after hours in orbit, rather than days or months.

>Protecting the optics in sun facing positions will be challenging.

To keep with the off-the-shelf ethos: A self-darkening welding mask.

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Boffin

Re: Nice idea, but...

With regards to the radiation,

http://www.nasa.gov/offices/oce/llis/0824.html

Is interesting.

"To keep with the off-the-shelf ethos: A self-darkening welding mask."

They're LCD based. Interested to see how that behaves in the near vacuum of LEO.

Also in direct sunlight you can see temps over 200degC so I think there may be additional reliability issues there.

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more like minisat amirite

I mean ... nanosat ? that thing is HUGE, you could have an ARM satellite with deployable solar panels and all about 1 tenth the size of that. That wouldn't make any difference for radiation but .. at least it'd be a real micro sat.

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I also would like to see how the Kinect can handle the radiation,I don't think there has ever been a study asto the long term survivability of consumer tech in space...

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A lot of the tech in SSTL satellites has been consumer grade electronics:-

http://www.sstl.co.uk/Downloads/SSTL-Brochure-pdfs/SSTL-25-years-brochure

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Anonymous Coward

Surely you've missed a bit...

... the bit about who put up the sponsorship to get them to use the Kinect.

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Re: Surely you've missed a bit...

Facts you may find useful #1: Microsoft are not SPECTRE from the James Bond movies. They're just a reasonably successful and bog-standardly money hungry corporation like most others.

If you want to insult the very clever people who not only came up with this but have the nouse to actually implement it by suggesting they're just a PR stunt, then that says more about you then them.

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Joke

Re: Surely you've missed a bit...

Microsoft are not SPECTRE from the James Bond movies

With Balmer in charge? More like the 'Evil Organisation' from Austin Powers

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely you've missed a bit...

Rich coming from you - all you've ever done here is shill for M$.

But thanks for confirming that M$ put up the money. Now tell us your sources.

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Jad
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Alternative to the M$ Product ...

http://live.leapmotion.com/about.html

"~100x more accurate than any other motion sensing/natural user interface on Earth." :)

"... David was working on a PhD in mathematics from UNC Chapel Hill and left to pursue Leap Motion. Before that, he was conducting research for NASA on fluid mechanics."

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Joke

Re: Surely you've missed a bit...

"With Balmer in charge? More like the 'Evil Organisation' from Austin Powers"

Hmmmm. There is a resemblence... I wonder if the rocket will look like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1JgMxRm--0

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it's a good article, if only for its comedy value.

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Cheap, readily available = very redundant

Haven't we been here before ? You can either spend billions on a perfect, tailor made solution, or you can pick things up off the shelf, relatively cheaply, and have loads of them in case of failure.

Good to see it happening in the UK, too. Can we have a sweepstakes on how long till it goes south

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Re: how long 'til it goes south

They'll juuuust about be ready to do a full space test of the technology and the funding will be cut because "we can't see the benefit over chucking up one expensive big satellite on a huge rocket stack." and that'll be the end of it. Until some enterprising foreign company actually does it and reaps the economic benefits.

Oh look. I appear to have my cynical hat on today.

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LPF
Happy

You notice..

How no one talks about the playstation move anymore ? lol

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"I've just picked up a fault in the AE35 unit. It's going to go 100% failure in 72 hours."

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Anonymous Coward

thanks for that

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The last thing you'll want to see in NASA is a Ring of Death as it flies past the Sun...

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