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Two outstanding researchers in cutting-edge space technology at the University of Surrey have been shortlisted for the prestigious Sir Arthur Clarke Awards.
The 'Arthurs', named after Arthur C. Clarke, the science fiction author and writer of '2001: A Space Odyssey', recognise achievement related to space. These awards have become established as the Oscars of the space industry. This year's awards are sponsored by the UK Space Agency.
Chris Brunskill, a PhD student at the University's Surrey Space Centre, has been nominated for the Space Student Achievement award for promoting the study of space at universities.
Chris works in his spare time with UK Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (UKSEDS) - a national society promoting space in schools and universities across the country. Chris was the chief coordinator for the 2009 UKSEDS conference at the University and then organised a later conference in Manchester.
And Dr Lloyd Wood, a research fellow in the University's Centre for Communication Systems Research, has been nominated for the Achievement in Space Research award for his ground-breaking work on using the Internet in space.
Lloyd was responsible for CLEO, a Cisco Systems Internet router flown as a hosted payload on the UK-DMC Disaster Monitoring Constellation satellite. This satellite was built, launched and operated by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). By working with colleagues at Cisco Systems, NASA Glenn Research Center and SSTL, Lloyd tested the Internet in space with CLEO and went on to conduct the first tests of the 'Interplanetary Internet' using the UK-DMC satellite.
Lloyd has built on this collaboration and experience to further research communications and networking for the difficult space environment. Lessons learned from testing communication protocols in space are now being applied to improving networking on the ground, with developments for ad-hoc networking and for the demanding data delivery needs of radio-astronomy arrays.
Lloyd said: "Being shortlisted for an 'Arthur' is a welcome result of years of teamwork, endeavour, and research achievement. The chance to compete for a monolith with Clarke's three-satellite constellation inscribed on it means a lot to someone who was awarded his PhD on satellite constellations in 2001."
Chris said: "I was thrilled to hear that the work done by UKSEDS in promoting space to students has been recognised by the 'Arthurs' in this year's nominations. The conference would not be possible without the hard work of the society and I get great satisfaction in being able to share my own personal enthusiasm for space with other students through organising this event."
Dr Craig Underwood, deputy director of the Surrey Space Centre, said: "It's excellent that Lloyd and Chris have been nominated for the prestigious Sir Arthur Clarke awards, demonstrating the University's ongoing commitment to excellence in space systems and communications research, and the wider benefits of space education."
Professor Rahim Tafazolli, director of the Centre for Communication Systems Research, said: "My sincere congratulations to both Lloyd and Chris. These nominations are a good reflection of our internationally recognised excellence in satellite technologies and communications research. "It is even more important to us as Lloyd was a PhD student in our centre and is now a member of staff. The successes of our two centres - the Surrey Space Centre and the Centre for Communication Systems Research - are the fruits of an admirable and long-term vision inspired by Professor Barry Evans and Sir Martin Sweeting."
Previous winners of the Sir Arthur Clarke award from the University of Surrey include Sir Martin Sweeting, who pioneered the use of small satellites in space. Sir Martin founded and heads Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, which was spun out from the University and sold to EADS Astrium in 2009.
The Sir Arthur Clarke Awards recognise notable achievements in the space sector. The winners will be announced at this year's UK Space Conference on 4-5 July 2011. Each of this year's Arthurs will be given either to an individual or to groups or organisations that have contributed to, originated in or have strong links to the United Kingdom, or have benefited the national space sector in some capacity. For more information see: www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency