TopSat image of the ExCeL exhibition centre, London Docklands

11 Sep 2007

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Reproduced images should include the credit: "Courtesy of the TopSat consortium, copyright QinetiQ."

This image of London Docklands was captured by TopSat, a micro-satellite built and operated by a QinetiQ-led consortium of British firms.

From left to right the image shows Canary Wharf, the O2 (formerly the Millennium Dome), the ExCeL exhibition centre (which covers over 100 acres on the north quayside of the Royal Victoria Dock) and London City Airport.

ExCeL is currently hosting the Defence Systems & Equipment International (DSEi) which gets underway today. DSEi is one of the leading tri-service defence systems and equipment trade events in the world and QinetiQ is exhibiting at stand 641.

TopSat is a micro-satellite system that provides high resolution imaging of the Earth quickly and at low cost. The satellite is designed to return its data directly to a mobile ground station immediately after collecting an image, allowing far more timely delivery of the information which it collects than standard satellites. The system is specifically designed to meet operational timescales, whether for disaster relief, news-gathering, or other applications where speed of response is vital.

The UK consortium behind TopSat was formed and is led by QinetiQ, an international defence and security technology company who own the satellite and are responsible for day-to-day operations. It also includes CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory who designed and built the camera, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) who built the spacecraft bus and Infoterra who are responsible for data exploitation. The programme, originally funded by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and the UK Ministry of Defence, is now a commercial venture.

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TopSat image of the ExCeL exhibition centre, London Docklands