Leicestershire, 02 February 2015 – In what is thought to be a world’s first a rocket equipped with air pollution monitoring equipment is due to be launched on 04 February 2015. As part of a wider air pollution mapping project supported by aerial survey company Bluesky, a pollution monitoring system, developed by scientists at the University of Leicester, aims to record how dangerous gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, dissipate with vertical distance from the earth. The micro sensors will be integrated with other technologies and launched into the atmosphere using Starchaser Industries’ Tempest Research Rocket. The launch follows previous work mapping air pollution across entire cities from planes, cars and ground sensors.
The Tempest is a 4.1 metre (14 foot) tall rocket that can reach speeds of up to 200 mph and will hit an altitude of 3,000 feet on this flight before being safely recovered via parachute. In addition to the air pollution monitoring sensors Tempest will also be carrying vital electronic systems that will be used aboard Starchaser’s future Space Tourism Rockets, an experimental GPS package and video cameras. The Tempest Rocket is expected to be launched on 4th February 2015 at 1030 am from Capesthorne Hall, Cheshire, in front of an audience of hundreds of pupils and teachers from more than 30 schools.
“We have already had great success mapping air pollution from an aerial survey plane giving us a better understanding of how dangerous gases, such as nitrogen dioxide, operate in the vertical plane,” commented James Eddy Bluesky’s Technical Director and Industrial Associate at the University of Leicester. “However, we hope this launch will take air pollution monitoring to another level.”
Dr Roland Leigh, academic supervisor at the University of Leicester added, “Air Quality continues to be a critical issue in our urbanising society, requiring us to explore novel solutions for monitoring, management and damage mitigation. We are grateful to Starchaser Industries for the opportunity to test our novel air quality monitoring techniques as part of this spectacular launch event. This project builds on work to date of Starchaser Industries, key academic expertise in instrument design and data manipulation, and once again benefits from a strong industrial partnership with Bluesky.”
The latest phase of the Bluesky supported air pollution monitoring project will add to results already obtained from trials of the University of Leicester’s world leading Compact Air Quality Spectrometer. Originally mounted on a dedicated aerial survey aircraft the device monitors visible light and measures how much light is lost at specific wavelengths absorbed by NO2. The technology has previously been used as part the CityScan project with devices mounted on tall buildings in Leicester, Bologna and London during the Olympics to build 3D maps of pollution across the cities.
Bluesky is a UK-based specialist in aerial imaging and remote sensing data collection and processing. An internationally recognised leader with projects extending around the globe, Bluesky is proud to work with prestigious organisations such as Google, the BBC and Government Agencies.
Bluesky has unrivalled expertise in the creation of seamless, digital aerial photography, 3D landscape/cityscape visualisations and prints and also runs a national mapping centre, providing digital mapping, satellite imagery and aerial photography including ultra-high resolution imagery of cities and towns.
Bluesky is now leading the way developing innovative solutions for environmental applications including the UK’s first nationwide map of solar potential, citywide ‘heat loss’ maps, 3D maps of trees and their proximity to buildings and historical imagery. www.bluesky-world.com
The University of Leicester is a leading UK University committed to international excellence through the creation of world changing research and high quality, inspirational teaching. Leicester is among the most socially inclusive of Britain’s top-20 leading universities. The University of Leicester is The Times/Sunday Times 2014 University of the Year Runner-Up and the THE University of the Year 2008-9. Leicester is a three-time winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education and is the only University to win seven consecutive awards from the Times Higher. Leicester is 14th out of 121 institutions by The Times/Sunday Times and the University is ranked among the top two-per cent in the world by the QS World University Rankings, Taiwan World University Rankings and THE World University Rankings. http://www2.le.ac.uk/about/facts
The Earth Observation Science group, based in the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester is an internationally recognised multi-disciplinary team dedicated to research into many aspects of remote sensing, atmospheric and Earth surface science. www.leos.le.ac.uk/aq
NERC is the largest funder of environmental science in the UK; investing £330m in cutting-edge research, training and knowledge transfer in the environmental sciences. NERC scientists study and monitor the whole planet, from pole to pole, and from the deep Earth and oceans to the edge of space. They address and respond to critical issues such as environmental hazards, resource security and environmental change. Through collaboration with other science disciplines, with UK business and with policymakers, NERC make sure their knowledge and skills support sustainable economic growth and public wellbeing – reducing risks to health, infrastructure, supply chains and the changing environment. For more information go to www.nerc.ac.uk.
Starchaser Industries is a privately held, high technology group of companies that specialises in the development, operation and commercialisation of space related products and services. Starchaser Industries enables new space related business opportunities by providing safe, reliable, affordable and reusable access to space for both the space tourism and micro-satellite launch markets.
Starchaser’s many projects to date have included the development of reusable liquid and hybrid propulsion systems and return to origin space capsule ram air parachute systems. Starchaser is currently working on the development of a reusable, low acceleration liquid propellant vehicle that would be offered for sounding rocket and space tourism applications.
Starchaser Industries UK also has an established and highly successful Outreach Programme that engages with both the general public and education. Starchaser’s educational activities complement the UK national curriculum and help inspire and motivate students at all levels. The Starchaser outreach team visits over 200 schools and engages with over 150,000 school children every year. For further information visit www.starchaser.co.uk