University of Surrey Satellite Project (1988/ 92)

The goals and objectives were to support the Surrey Satellite Research Centre by designing and manufacturing mobile communication micro-satellites for research and small scale commercial purposes. (The group included over 40 scientists, researchers, engineers and technicians)

The analytical / engineering challenge for me was to participate in this large concurrent engineering project and lead the manufacturing side of it, including most aspects of the design for manufacturing activities.

The method/ model was validated by designing/ implementing, testing, launching and using these satellites in low orbit. (Note, that over 16 micro-satellites were machined in my laboratory.

The practical, industrial use and spinoffs included several research and practical applications of micro-satellite communication systems.

Major lessons learned included

It was a great project that won several prizes in the UK. Thanks to all!

The image below illustrates the modular micro-satellite design being assembled in a clean room. Note the way the individual frames fit, each holding different experiments.


The image below illustrates one of the CAM screens of a base module.


As illustrated below, we have employed novel ways for fixturing, clamping and CNC milling processes.


The image below illustrates a process of the automated tapping procedure of small size holes on the frame.


The image below illustrates the testing procedures using a CMM (Co-ordinate Measuring Machine).


As can be seen, our micro-satellites, under 52 kilograms, represented "true babies" amongst giants launched from French Guiana on Arien rockets by the European Space Agency.