A Tayside satellite facility lauded by NASA has begun sharing images again after a two-year rescue effort.
Dundee Satellite Station, based at Errol, has released a free picture showing the huge snowfall seen across parts of the UK in February.
Such images were commonly released through Dundee University before the station was forced to move and rebrand following a budget cut by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
The service is now looking to position itself as a profitable business as Scotland becomes a European space hub.
Free images ‘token of thanks’ to fundraisers
Operations Director Neil Lonie said the company has made huge leaps since it was closed by Dundee University.
He said: “We are in the process of testing the ground station equipment as we prepare to start a large commercial contract with a US company.
“During our data download testing recently we managed to capture a number of superb images showing how the snowy conditions blanketed much of Scotland and the east coast of England.
“As well as posting the most striking images on Twitter, we are also providing the most recent UK images on our web site, although for now the site has only basic functionality.
“We hope to migrate to a far better web service later this year as we move towards offering commercial remote sensing data services.
“These will run alongside the free images that we will continue to provide as a token of thanks to all those who kindly donated to the GoFundMe campaign which has helped us establish the new station at Errol.”
Scotland fast becoming space industry hub
The Dundee station comprises of a 3.7m antenna, which has been upgraded to provide simultaneous operation in two key frequency bands and can also support simultaneous uplink (transmission) as well as downlink (reception).
It allows staff to send command and control information to satellites as well as receiving images and other data from them.
It previously played a key role in providing oversight on climate change and major weather events such as Iceland’s flight-halting volcanic eruption in 2010.
US space agency NASA has also frequently leaned on the facility to provide support to many of its spacecrafts.
The commercial satellite industry is expected to rocket within the next few years.
Ventures include Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk’s plan to launch thousands of mini satellites into orbit, providing high-speed internet for every corner of the globe.
The UK’s first spaceport is planned for Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands while Glasgow builds more satellites than anywhere outside of California.
Dr Paul Crawford, the company’s technical director, added: “Since setting up the company, we have been supporting several organisations with their satellite operations, in the UK and abroad.
“Although the Scottish space sector is growing, a missing element is good quality ground station support for the large number of small satellites that are being planned and launched.
“Dundee Satellite Station has been undertaking this work for over 40 years, and our reputation for quality support means that companies are keen to work with us now the Station is operational again.
“Beyond the operational support currently on offer, we are also in discussion with several universities and research organisations about various future projects and opportunities to expand the capabilities we can provide to Scotland and the wider world.”