UofG student satellite design set for launch after competition win

Published: 26 July 2022

A team of University of Glasgow students will see a satellite they designed sent into space after winning a £600,000 national competition.

A team of University students will see a satellite they designed sent into space after winning a £600,000 national competition.
The GU Orbit team were announced as the winners of the LaunchUK Nanosat Design Competition at an awards event at Farnborough International Airshow on Friday 22nd July. The competition is run by the UK Space Agency and Department for Transport.
They beat 40 teams from across the UK, aged between 16 and 37, with the judges praising their entry for identifying a clear way to tackle climate change and test new technologies. The team spent months of intensive work on design and planning, with feedback provided by experts from the UK Space Agency.
The team’s design for a satellite capable of monitoring climate change from space will now be built and could be launched from a UK spaceport as soon as next year.
The team’s design, called OirthirSAT, is a nanosatellite which aims to monitor shorelines and coastal vegetation from orbit using images taken in the visible and near-infrared portions of the spectrum.
Joe Gibbs, one of the student leads of the OirthirSAT team, said: “The whole team are delighted to have been selected as winners of the competition and to move one step closer to launching the OirthirSAT platform. OirthirSAT will generate important data on the UK coastline that will be invaluable to shaping UK policy on climate change, and I look forward to being a part of the student team developing the platform.”
Freya Muir, the Science Officer of the team, is also delighted with this win for the team, the university and the field of coastal science. “Going through the competition and designing the mission helped show us that there is a real desire and need, both in industry and in research, for up-to-date information on how our coasts are changing with rising sea levels and increased storm activity.
“We’re really excited to be one step (or giant leap!) closer to being the first UK group and first international nanosatellite to provide these regular satellite observations of the coast.”
Dr Kevin Worrall, of the James Watt School of Engineering, has mentored the team through the process of developing OirthirSAT.
Dr Worrall said: “It is fantastic that the OirthirSAT team are winners. This is a great reward for the hard work and dedication the full team has put in. It has been a pleasure working with the team and I wish them luck for the next stage of the competition.”
The OirthirSAT team is made up of undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the James Watt School of Engineering, the School of Computing and the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
The members of the team are:

  • Nektarios Chari, MEng Mechanical Engineering      
  • Ozgur Civan Dogan, Computing Science
  • Joe Gibbs, PhD, Aerospace Sciences
  • Diego Hidalgo De Las Heras, MEng Aeronautical Engineering
  • Natalia Ibagon, MSc Robotics and AI 
  • Gregor MacAskill, MEng Aeronautical Engineering
  • Ignacio Serrano Martín-Sacristán, BEng Aerospace Engineering
  • Freya Muir, PhD in Geographical and Earth Science (Coastal Modelling)
  • Theodoros Serghiou, MEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering
  • Georgios Titas, MEng Electronics and Electrical Engineering


First published: 26 July 2022