Space technology research at the University of Dundee is now used in £10 billion worth of spacecraft.

Space Technology

The SpaceWire team winning business of the year at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce’s inaugural awards 2014

This technology includes commercial telecommunications and global positioning system spacecraft, operational Earth observational spacecraft including weather, disaster monitoring and environmental monitoring satellites, and scientific and exploration spacecraft.

Professor Stephen Parkes started to work on spacecraft data technology in 1998, winning a technology research contract from European Space Agency (ESA). This research laid the foundations for what was to be published in 2003 as the SpaceWire standard.

SpaceWire technology acts as a spacecraft's nervous system to connect much of its on-board computing technology. It is being used in BepiColombo - the joint European and Japanese space mission to explore the planet Mercury, among many others.

The adoption of SpaceWire on several missions led to the need for improvements in device interoperability. Supported by international engineers, the University created The Remote Memory Access Protocol (RMAP), which also became an international standard in 2010.

Over the period 1998 to 2013, the success of the £1.6 million research programme led to the establishment of a spin out company STAR-Dundee, which has 16 full-time employees, a book value of more than £2million and 400 customers in 50 countries, including the world’s space agencies and most of the famous names of the international aerospace industry.

Research Impact

  • SpaceWire is used by world space agencies including NASA, ESA (Europe) and JAXA (Japan)
  • Spin out STAR-Dundee has 16 full time employees, a book value of more than £2million and 400 customers in 50 countries.
  • STAR-Dundee’s customers include the most famous names of the international aerospace industry.


  • Professor Steve Parkes
  • Chair of Spacecraft Electronic Systems