Engineering electronics for outer space

Posted by pt91 at Jun 14, 2012 12:44 PM |
University of Leicester expert gives lecture on spacecraft electronic systems

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 14 June 2012

The challenges of designing electronic systems for spacecraft which will withstand the harsh environment of space will be explained by a Leicester engineering expert.

Professor Tanya Vladimirova, of the University of Leicester’s Department of Engineering, will give her inaugural lecture ‘Microelectronics and Embedded Systems for Space Applications’ on June 19.

Her work addresses needs of satellites in the Earth’s orbit, which may never be available for repair after launch and are vulnerable to collision with space debris travelling at high velocities.

She will discuss the latest groundbreaking projects which seek to make on-board computing systems as small and reliable as possible.

The lecture will also feature the University’s CubeSat project, which aims to place a nano-satellite in orbit in 2015.

Professor Vladimirova said: “Fifty five years after the launch of the first artificial satellite of Earth, the Russian ‘Sputnik-1’, satellite systems have changed our lives, bringing us instant information via the telephone and broadcast media.”

“Satellite navigation has become a vital part of everyday activities enabling users to find their position accurately anywhere on Earth using signals from orbiting satellites. But most importantly, as it is said in the UK Civil Space Strategy 2008-2012 and beyond, ‘satellites are a crucial tool for understanding and monitoring Earth at a global level for preservation of the environment and security’.”

“However, satellites are vulnerable to the harsh environment of space and are not available for repair after launch. Recently published study of spacecraft failures has concluded that electronics failures are the single largest type of failures - in fact 45 per cent of all failures in spacecraft are related to electronics.”

“The research presented in this lecture aims to apply new technological advances in microelectronics and embedded systems to improve reliability and reparability of spacecraft electronics. The research is also motivated by the need to reduce satellite mass via miniaturization and distributed architectures.”

The lecture will be held on June 19 from 5.30pm in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester, and is free and open to the public.



For more information, please contact Professor Tanya Vladimirova at

About Professor Vladimirova

Prof. Tanya Vladimirova has recently joined the Department of Engineering, University of Leicester. Before that, she was a Reader at the Department of Electronic Engineering, University of Surrey, and a senior member of the Surrey Space Centre, where she founded and led the Microelectronics Design and Embedded Systems research group. She has been active in research in very large scale integration (VLSI) design and computer systems engineering for space applications and has authored and co-authored over 160 published papers. She has been involved in a large number of research projects concerned with integrated circuit design (FPGAs and ASICs), reconfigurable computing, wireless sensor networks, distributed processing, computational intelligence techniques and image processing for use on board satellites. 15 PhD students have successfully completed their PhD studies under her supervision.

Tanya is a Visiting Professor to the Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, Associate Editor for IEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems and a Member of the EPSRC Peer Review College for the period 2006-2011. She acts as a European expert for assessment of research proposals and projects funded under the EU Framework programme. Previous professional activities undertaken by her are as follows:

  • Session Organiser for the IEEE Aerospace Conference,  2009-2011.
  • Member of the Steering Committee of the CubeSat research network, part of the Sensors and Instrumentation Knowledge Transfer Network, 2009-2010.

  • Member of the executive team of the IET Professional Network ‘Microelectronics and Embedded Systems’ (formerly ‘System-on-chip’), 2002-2007.

  • Co-Chair of the Annual International NASA Conference on Military and Aerospace Applications of Programmable Logic Devices, MAPLD, 2000-2006.

  • Visiting Professor to the School of Engineering of Shandong University, Jinan, China, 2005-2006. 

  • Tan Chin Tuan Research Fellow at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore, 2004. 

  • Associate Editor for the Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), 2000-2002.

  • International expert for the National Science Foundation (USA).

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