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Student satellite set for space to help global conservation

A fully-orbiting satellite, set to be launched to the International Space Station to help global conservation projects, is being designed and built by engineering students at the University of Warwick.

The Warwick University Satellite Project (WUSAT), based at the University of Warwick’s School of Engineering, is developing its third satellite, WUSAT-3, which could aid the protection of bird and animal species, by monitoring migration patterns from space.WUSAT3

WUSAT-3 is a 3-unit CubeSat, developed at the WUSAT lab, which is being designed to be launched to the International Space Station, where it will be deployed into Low-Earth Orbit via the NanoRacks CubeSat deployment system on-board the ISS.

It has been designed to work alongside the International Cooperation for Animal Research Using Space (ICARUS) hardware, already on board the ISS.

The satellite will be able to track birds and animals on Earth by locating smart tags attached to them, using its four deployable antennae, high-resolution direction finder, and highly accurate orientation system.

Dr Bill Crofts, who also works as an external expert for the European Research Council, leads the WUSAT project. He explains that the team is unlike any other of its kind:

“WUSAT is relatively unique as an undergraduate satellite engineering team. Each year a new multi-disciplinary 4th Year MEng team take over from the previous team to drive each current project forward. We have worked on European Space Agency sponsored projects for eight of the ten years we have been in existence. We now have alumni of approximately 80 former WUSAT engineering students working in industry – many are working for space technology companies. Approximately one-fifth of our engineers have been female. We currently have collaborative assistance from 12 top-class companies, and over the past ten years we have worked with over 40 companies in our various satellite missions.”

“WUSAT-3 is a highly ambitious leap forward, but the excellent Warwick engineering students I have worked with over the past ten years will be more than capable of achieving this extraordinary engineering objective. A Warwick satellite being launched from the International Space Station will be an enormous achievement for all concerned – the team, our collaborating companies, the School of Engineering at Warwick, and Warwick University itself,” Dr Crofts comments.wusat model

WUSAT is a multi-disciplinary 4th Year MEng satellite engineering team, which has been operating for ten years.

A Space Technology Research Group is being developed, based around the WUSAT facility. It currently comprises over 20 academic staff, who offer a range of research specialisms applicable to space technology related research.

It is believed that this will be the first specific engineering research group dedicated to Space Technology in the UK.

You can find out more at

August 5th 2016

Further information contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Officer

L dot Walton dot 1 at warwick dot ac dot uk

02476 150 868

07824 540 863