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The University of Southampton

Southampton’s high altitude research showcased to opinion formers

Published: 29 October 2012Origin: Engineering

Dr András Sóbester and colleagues from Engineering and the Environment were showcasing their research at a top level debate on the future of UK innovation hosted by the Royal Society in London.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council/Royal Academy of Engineering Research Fellow and lecturer is working on the development of lightweight, balloon-launched unmanned gliders and other stratospheric platforms that can take scientific measurements at heights up to 35 km. This is part of the University's ASTRA project (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft), which also involves Dr Steven Johnston and PhD student Chris Paulson.

András was invited to display ASTRA's research at the joint event in London, which involved 300 people from the Royal Society, Academy of Medical Sciences, British Academy and Royal Academy of Engineering and featured Vince Cable, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Roland Aurich, the UK CEO of Siemens, and Sir Paul Nurse.

"It was an excellent opportunity to talk to leading scientists and engineers," explains András. "I got the chance to chat to Vince Cable and tell him about our work at Southampton."

Earlier in the summer, András and Steven lectured on a residential summer course for teenagers, supported by Microsoft and run by the Smallpeice Trust. They spoke about ASTRA and the role of computers,  simulations and rapid prototyping technologies in aerospace engineering and challenged the students to think about how they can be used in the future development of low environmental impact aircraft. The participants also got the opportunity to build their own prototype devices capable of recording scientific measurements (using the same .Net Gadgeteer toolkit used on ASTRA's real high altitude missions)

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