Disease Tracking: First UK Student Satellite!

Asteria is a student-led team at the University of Edinburgh on a mission to build the UK's first entirely student-built scientific satellite, Oracle 1, for launch in December 2021. Conceived of in March 2019, Asteria will pursue a one-of-a-kind mission for mosquito-borne disease monitoring and prediction, in light of the recent effects of COVID-19.



About the Team:
Hosted by the Bayes Centre in central Edinburgh, Asteria ties engineering, physics, informatics and geosciences students for satellite development and engineering. Our team currently consists of 25+ individually selected members from all undergraduate years and postgraduate cohorts across a broad range of sub-disciplines; from electrical engineers and meteorologists to astrophysicists. Asteria’s management consists of previous committee members from award-winning Edinburgh student teams such as HYPED and Edinburgh University Formula Student. This diversity gives our team the ability to pursue impactful scientific missions relating to global health, engineer a custom CubeSat satellite, and liaise with government officials to ensure our path to outer space!

Our team is entirely student-led and student-run -- this gives students an invaluable hands-on learning experience in space and satellite development. It’s a very ambitious project, but we have some of the most dedicated and skilled undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh working toward our goals, and a significant amount of progress has been made on our scientific mission, launch operations, and engineering design, even despite COVID-19.

Oracle 1 Satellite Mission & the UNSDGs: 
Our first satellite will be called Oracle 1, and it will pursue a scientific mission designed in light of the recent effects of COVID-19 on public health to monitor mosquito-borne disease spread, a challenging, yet relavent application for today’s world in light of diseases like COVID-19, also in support of the UN sustainable development goals. This mission will entail not only satellite development, but scientific analysis and collaboration with relavent organizations, from  governments to scientists in the UK. Oracle 1 has been in development since January and the team have been making significant progress in engineering design and regulatory understanding.

Of all disease-carrying agents, mosquitoes are the most prevalent and highly infectious, spreading malaria, yellow fever, and dengue across the entire world with nearly 500 million cases, resulting in over one million deaths per year. Environmental factors such as the presence of vegetation, water bodies, and industrial or urban areas have been strongly correlated to the incidence of outbreaks due to their influence on the interaction between disease-carrying agents and humans. As an example, in the region of Lake Victoria in central Africa, stagnant water bodies have been shown to foster mosquito breeding habitats (species Anopheles), correlating to higher mosquito-borne disease transmission.

This mission will tailor Oracle 1 and Asteria to contribute to the global effort of monitoring select environmental factors with temporal resolutions not available on existing satellites -- aiding response times and better growth modeling.

Each mission we develop revolves around the following UNSDGs:

•(2) Zero hunger
•(3) Good health and well-being
•(6) Clean water and sanitation
•(9) Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
•(12) Responsible consumption and production
•(15) Life on land
•(17) Partnerships for the goals

Launch Collaboration:
In March 2020,  our team signed a launch partnership with Responsive Access Ltd. for the orbital launch of our Oracle 1 satellite in December 2021, marking a major milestone in bringing  our first satellite to reality!

Current Support:
Asteria is supported financially by the University of Edinburgh and the DDI (Data-Driven-Innovation) city programme through relevant academics. 

Benefit to Students, and the Community:
Asteria aims to foster growing interests in space and satellites, an evermore important field in the 21st century with potential to change lives -- whether it be predicting diseases outbreaks in Rwanda, supplying internet to the entire Scottish Highlands, or monitoring dangerous space weather. Satellites will be a growing part of our lives and it's imperative for students to learn and gain experience from practical projects -- not just from an engineering standpoint, but operations, management, and logistics, as well. This opportunity will undoubtedly distill the very best in students -- paving the way for impactful and satisfying careers while bolstering the economy and community around them

Oracle 1 Satellite and Our Request:
While COVID-19 has minimally hampered our technical progress, it poses a slightly greater threat to our much-needed funding sources and sponsorship to make our goals a reality.

We ask for support toward the construction of Oracle 1. We start with the critical communications systems which will allow the team to progressively develop the rest of the satellite. 

Satellite hardware isn't cheap; it does, however, have the potential to change the way we view our environment while inspiring and teaching the next generation of the UK space sector.

For any questions at all, please contact our Managing Director, Ani Vasudevan, with details below!


  • Anonymous 
    • £5 
    • 22 d
  • Anonymous 
    • £50 
    • 22 d


Ani Vasudevan 
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
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