The UK’s only training school accredited by the European Space Agency (ESA) has been bought by the University of Portsmouth. ASTA Technology Ltd, which has been based at the University since 2008, trains space operators to assemble, maintain, and repair critical space electronics.
Such electronics applications require highly specialised knowledge due to the unique stresses undergone by spacecraft. A wide temperature range, extreme launch vibrations, and space depressurisation must all be taken into account.
Head of Materials Technology at the ESA, Dr Tommaso Ghidini, said: “expertise in flight electronics soldering, assembly and inspection is an essential pillar of our space adventure.”
Potential access to expertise, materials, tools, and processes will support projects within the School of Engineering, aided by ASTA Technology’s convenient location in Anglesea Building, home to the University’s Faculty of Technology.
Professor Djamel Ait-Boudaoud, Dean of the Faculty of Technology, described the addition of the school as: “a clear indication of our ambition to enhance our business innovation activities”, that will expand the University’s continuing professional development activities whilst enhancing students’ employment prospects.
Operations director Dr Misha Filip, lead instructor Brett Smith, and previous owner and instructor Bill Strachan – now consultant instructor – will form part of the organisation’s new team.
ASTA Technology’s customer base consists of space manufacturing companies, as well as any related businesses providing ESA-standard electronics. Courses are delivered on-site and in customer premises across the world.
The ESA Skills Training School has educated over 3,600 students since its formation in 1988, going on to work in more than 180 companies. Dr Ghidini said the ESA: “look forward to continuing in this valuable collaboration for many years to come.”