Sheffield Students Win European Space Agency Competition


University of Sheffield students have won a prestigious European Space Agency competition to develop a low cost and lightweight telescope that will gather data from the Sun’s atmosphere. The telescope will be launched into the Earth’s atmosphere by a high altitude balloon and it is hoped that the data collected by the telescope will help protect against solar flares.

The team called sunbYte (Sheffield University Nova Balloon Lifted Solar Telescope) intend on using new, innovative and cheaper manufacturing techniques including 3D printing to build the telescope.  Knowledge of the Sun’s dynamic atmosphere is crucial to understand its interactions with the Earth and the local space environment, known as Space Weather. Images captured by the team will be of important scientific value.

Project Leader Yun-Hang Cho from the Department of Civil and Structural Engineering said that “what excites me about project sunbYte is the potential for protecting our way of life. The knowledge gained will enable us to develop effective defences against solar flares and expand our knowledge of the universe”.

He continued “SunbYte places the involved University of Sheffield students at the forefront of science and engineering, giving them the chance to learn through experience. I am very proud of the work everyone has delivered and hope to continue leading them to success”.

The balloon is due to be launched in October 2017 from the Esrange Space Centre in Northern Sweden.

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