Dundee Scientist honoured for work in space industry

Galileo satellite SpaceWire is now used on many ESA, NASA and JAXA spacecraft

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A University of Dundee scientist has been honoured for his work on a communications network for spacecraft.

Prof Steve Parkes, who is director of the university's Space Technology Centre, has been presented with a Specialist Bronze Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society (RSA).

It is in recognition of his "instrumental role" in the creation of the SpaceWire Standard.

SpaceWire is one of the main data-handling networks used on spacecraft

Prof Parkes worked in the aerospace industry prior to joining the University of Dundee in 1995, where he subsequently founded the Space Technology Centre in the School of Computing.

He also help start up STAR-Dundee Ltd, a spacecraft technology company, which was spun out from the University of Dundee in 2002.

'Team effort'

His research focuses on spacecraft electronic systems, including computer networks for use on board spacecraft, guidance systems that use computer vision to help land spacecraft on the surface of other planets, and on-board data processing.

Start Quote

He has been instrumental in the development of the SpaceWire concept, from its inception to its vast deployment within satellite on-board data handling sub-systems”

End Quote Dr Philippe Armbruste European Space Agency

SpaceWire is a computer network for use on board spacecraft, which connects together instruments, mass-memory, processors, the downlink telemetry, and other onboard sub-systems.

It is now used on many ESA, NASA and JAXA spacecraft.

Prof Parkes said: "I am honoured to receive this award in recognition of the research I have had the pleasure to lead over the past 15 years.

"My thanks and appreciation goes to the members of my research team within the University of Dundee and STAR-Dundee, and to my colleagues across the world, who together made winning this award possible."

Dr. Philippe Armbruster, head of the European Space Agency's Data Systems Division said: "Prof Steve Parkes is well known to the European Space Agency for his numerous contributions to the work of its Technical Centre (ESTEC).

"He has been instrumental in the development of the SpaceWire concept, from its inception to its vast deployment within satellite on-board data handling sub-systems."

Extensive use

Prof Tadayuki Takahashi of the Japan Aerospace eXploration Agency (JAXA) said: "Professor Steve Parkes is the leader of the SpaceWire activity in the world.

"The sixth Japanese X-ray satellite, ASTRO-H, is a new generation of satellite that uses the SpaceWire architecture extensively.

"We appreciate his tremendous efforts to collect all requirements from the international community and to formalize as the standard."

Jim Lux, of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said: "Professor Parkes has been a leading force in the development and acceptance of SpaceWire as a high speed on-board data connection.

"I expect to see more and better science data from future missions that use SpaceWire because of his advocacy and persistence."

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