Sensors on satellites

On Friday 26 April, 60 speakers and guests gathered at the Edgbaston Park Hotel to explore how quantum technologies can be used in satellites to measure gravity.

Measuring gravity from space has the potential to change the way we are able to predict major geological events such as earthquakes, which in turn helps scientists see underneath the Earth’s surface, enabling them to measure ocean current levels to forecast mild to severe weather changes.

The workshop was hosted by the UK National Quantum Technology Hub for Sensors and Metrology, and co-hosted with the National Centre for Earth Observation, and the Centre for EO Instrumentation. The delegates included scientific representatives from companies such as Airbus, BP, Thales Alenia Space, and organisations including the European Space Agency, Fraunhofer and the UK Met Office.

The purpose of our end-user workshops is to link engineering and physics academics and scientific advisors with key industry experts and manufacturers, who are able to advise on the requirements and feasibility of the technologies under development within the Quantum Technology Hub.

Dr Bruno Leone, Head of Optoelectronics at the European Space Agency (ESA), opened the workshop with a talk on the current satellite development being undertaken at the ESA, and those which are currently in operation. Subsequent speakers discussed how they currently use gravity measurements to identify and explain geophysical phenomena, and how gravity sensors, based on cold atom quantum technology, would enhance current data sets and open new possibilities for businesses as well as geoscience research.

The workshop ended with an open discussion on the current development of sensors on satellites, and the timescales of when this technology could be fully implemented and used to its maximum potential.

More end-user workshops are being planned for 2019 – details will be available on our website soon.


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