University of Dundee University of Dundee
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21 November 2012

Royal Aeronautical Society Award for Professor Steve Parkes

pic shows Professor Parkes (on the right) accepting the award

picture shows Professor Parkes (on the right) accepting the award

Professor Steve Parkes, Director of the Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee, has been presented with a Specialist Bronze Award from the Royal Aeronautical Society for his "instrumental role in the inception, development and continuing success of the SpaceWire Standard for spacecraft on-board data handling."

The Society's Specialist Bronze Awards are for work of merit which has led to advances in specialist disciplines in the aerospace industry. The award was presented by Phil Boyle, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Professor 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."

Professor 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. 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.

He is co-director of the NERC Earth Observation Data Acquisition and Analysis Service (NEODAAS), which incorporates the Dundee Satellite Receiving Station, and which provides a comprehensive satellite data service for UK environmental scientists.

He is also a successful entrepreneur leading STAR-Dundee Ltd, a spacecraft technology company, which has grown year on year since spinning out from the University of Dundee in 2002. The award-winning research of the Space Technology Centre features in a number of the School of Computing undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, as part of the "research frontiers" teaching.

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. SpaceWire has been a highly successful collaboration between European Space Agency (ESA), academia and industry.

The University of Dundee, funded by the ESA technology research programme, led the academic research, presented the initial definition of the standard, developed crucial SpaceWire codec and router chip designs, and wrote the formal standard document, with input from engineers across Europe. Over the past 15 years a coherent programme of research resulted in an important technology for spacecraft being used and designed into over 10 billion dollars worth of scientific exploration, Earth observation, telecommunications, and global positioning system spacecraft. This programme of research is set to continue over the next ten years on higher performance, more capable network technologies, targeted at both spacecraft and terrestrial applications.

Dr Philippe Armbruster, Head of the European Space Agency's Data Systems Division said that "Professor 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."

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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