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City, University of London is a leading global university committed to academic excellence, focused on business and the professions, located in the heart of London.

City, University of London aspires to develop world-leading research and achieve far-reaching impact.

In March 2020 City, University of London launched the London Space Innovation Centre (LSI Centre) which is set to become a major hub for coordinating and promoting multidisciplinary research, education and enterprise projects in space-related fields. This will include tackling challenges and opportunities in upstream operations including launch of space vehicles and satellites and their on-board equipment; but also the downstream applications data and images obtained from space, playing an important role in the supply chains of the space sector.

The Centre focuses on research fields that include engineering and physical sciences, data analytics, computer science and artificial intelligence, addressing key challenges, which intend to have a significant impact on the design and operation of cost effective, reliable and safe space services across the value chain.

Indeed, City has developed internationally recognised expertise in autonomy for space vehicles, robotics, and artificial intelligence; data analytics; cyber security; and visualisation, which underpin the vast majority of future potential high growth space applications.

Finally, the Centre will also be able to contribute to the quality assurance and provenance of data, legal frameworks for regulation and commercial transactions, risk management and ethics in the near future.

Current space-related research at City focuses on four major areas:

  • Autonomy and AI in Space
  • Resilience in Critical Space Infrastructure concerning PNT and Communications
  • Geolocation from Space Platforms
  • Supply Chains for Space Operations.

Within these areas Earth Observation, and Space Vehicle Propulsion are also researched.

Examples of our research include:

  1. Working with the European Space Agency and industrial partners in the application of autonomy for space vehicles using AI, robotics, and computer vision, e.g., towards repairing and updating operational satellites to support the emerging in-orbit serving market. Planet exploration using mobile autonomous robotic platforms and space landers.
  2. Development of AI based algorithms both deep supervised and deep unsupervised for EO data including multi-modality such SAR, Visible, Thermal, LIDAR…etc
  3. Development of a concept for a single LEO CubeSat satellite to geo-locate an earth positioned or flying Electromagnetic (EM) emitter employing Doppler technology rather than three of four satellites using time difference of arrival. This system, for the USA, can be used for emergency rescue support, interference emissions location or for military reconnaissance of target emitters.
  4. Research focused on the resilience levels of space systems in order to measure and improve not only new system developments, but importantly, legacy systems as well.
  5. Understanding the cyber resilience given that rogue states are fast developing cyber-attack vectors to cause disruption to critical infrastructure.
  6. Global supply chain investigation into the sources of component parts and subsystems to understand any disruption that may emerge in our future space programmes caused by changes in international relations, world catastrophic natural disasters or the shortages in rare earth metals.

The following facilities are available to the LSI Centre:

  • Autonomous Systems and Machine Intelligence Laboratory (ASMIL)
  • Artificial Robotics Environment for Navigation and Autonomy (ARENA) facility
  • Power and propulsion test facilities
  • Wind tunnels
  • Sensors and photonics test facilities
  • Cyber security lab

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