Image of the Week: Diamond Jubilee – the view from space
1 Jun 2012
This week, to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee our Image of the Week shows Buckingham Palace (centre left) captured by NigeriaSat-2 on 30th March 2012. It is a reminder of how far space technologies have come since the start of her reign.
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Satellite image of Buckingham Palace, London.
This kind of satellite image now looks very familiar. Space images, data and services now surrounded us, but this technology is still relatively novel.
This year is also the anniversary of 50 years of the UK in Space. 10 years into the reign of Elizabeth II on 26 April 1962 the UK entered the space age, becoming the third country to launch a satellite, Ariel-1, into orbit.
Since then the Queen has seen the UK space sector go from strength to strength. The UK can boast expert scientists and engineers who develop world class technologies. By 1971 the UK successfully launched its first (and last) rocket, Black Arrow, carrying UK built satellite Prospero.
The technology from Black Arrow was reused in the European Space Agency’s Ariane series of launchers, still used today and the UK has become a world leading satellite building nation. The UK has been involved in the most iconic space missions including; Hubble, Cassini-Huygens and Envisat.
The Queen has overseen the government’s that established first the Space Research Management Unit shortly after the launch of Ariel-1 in 1963, the British National Space Council in 1985 and most recently the UK Space Agency in 2010 to promote UK space activities at home and abroad.
Now, the UK builds and operates satellites with a variety of functions, from telecommunications and satellite navigation to solar system exploration, space telescopes and Earth observation satellites which have revolutionised our everyday life.
This image was captured by NigeriaSat-2 which was designed and built by the world leading small satellite firm Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, a UK company. NigeriaSat-2 is operated within the Disaster Monitoring Constellation which provides images through the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters to help relief efforts following natural or man made disasters.
This image shows a serene scene of Buckingham Palace nestled into the heart of London. Numerous London landmarks are clearly visible, thanks to the quality of British technical capability over the Queen’s sovereignty, a legacy of 50 years in space.
Find out more about the 50th Anniversary of the UK in Space.