Compressors developed at the Department of Engineering Science have
formed a key component of the cryocoolers used to cool the infra-red
sensors on satellites. Their low mass has trimmed almost $250k from the
cost of individual satellite missions. Sixty seven have been sold to date,
with sales totalling £2.8M between January 2008 and July 2013; three units
are currently in Earth orbit with another nine planned to follow in 2014.
A specialised version has been developed to achieve extremely low
temperatures, with prototypes already built for the Mid Infra-Red
Instrument (MIRI) that will form part of the James Webb Space Telescope.