SATELLITE pioneer Clyde Space is joining forces with a US university and leading scientists to develop "game-changing" technology to study ocean biology.


Glasgow-based Clyde Space, which was founded by Craig Clark, said that it was building CubeSats to observe the changing biology of the surface ocean and the implications for the marine food chain, as well as for climate scientists, fisheries and coastal resource managers, and other experts ranging from military personnel to oil spill responders.

The project is being led by John M Morrison, professor of physics and physical oceanography at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. It also involves Cloudland Instruments of Santa Barbara, California, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Hawk Institute for Space Sciences in Pocomoke City in Maryland.

Clyde Space, which designed and manufactured Scotland's first satellite, said the project involved the development and construction of two SeaHawk CubeSats with HawkEye ocean colour sensors at a cost of $1.675 million (£1.12m).

The project, called Sustained Ocean Observation from Nanosatellites or SOCON, is being funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. This foundation was set up by Intel co-founder Mr Moore and his wife to encourage ideas that create an enduring impact in the areas of science, environmental observation, and patient care.

Mr Clark said: "We're extremely excited to be involved in this mission. Not only will we be working with the 'A-Team' of world ocean colour scientists, we'll be producing two of the most advanced CubeSats ever built."

Professor Morrison said a recent report by the National Academy of Science showed ocean colour satellites provided a unique vantage point for observing the changing biology in the surface ocean.