Martin Sweeting

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Sir Martin Sweeting

Cooperation Agreement for a Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation between Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and The Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology and Beijing Landview Mapping Information Technology (5881315780).jpg
Martin Sweeting and Wu Shuang sign a Cooperation Agreement for a Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation in 2011
Martin Nicholas Sweeting

(1951-03-12) 12 March 1951 (age 68)[1]
Alma materUniversity of Surrey
Scientific career
ThesisThe communications efficiency of electrically short aerials (1979)

Sir Martin Nicholas Sweeting OBE FRS FREng FIET FRAeS[2] (born 12 March 1951) is the founder and executive chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL).[3] SSTL is a corporate spin-off from the University of Surrey, where Sweeting is a Distinguished Professor who founded and chairs the Surrey Space Centre.[4]


Sweeting was educated at Aldenham School and the University of Surrey, completing a Bachelor of Science degree in 1974[1] followed by a PhD in 1979 on shortwave antennas.[5]

Career and research[edit]

With a team he created UoSAT-1, the first modern 70 kg (150 lb) 'microsatellite,' which he convinced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch, as a secondary piggyback payload into Low Earth orbit alongside a larger primary payload. This satellite and its successors used amateur radio bands to communicate with a ground station on the University campus. During the 1980s Sweeting took research funding to develop this new small-satellite concept further to cover possible applications such as remote sensing, and grew a small satellites research group that launched a number of later satellites. This led to the formation of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd in 1985, with four employees and a starting capital of just £100,[6] and to a know-how technology transfer program, introducing space technologies to other countries. SSTL was later spun off from the University and sold to Astrium in 2009 for a larger sum.[quantify]

Awards and honours[edit]

In 2000 Sweeting was awarded the Mullard Award by the Royal Society and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the same year.[2] In recognition of his pioneering work on cost-effective spacecraft engineering, Sweeting was knighted in 2002. In 2006 he received the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for Innovation for the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC).[7] In 2008 he was awarded the Royal Institute of Navigation Gold Medal[citation needed] for the successful GIOVE-A mission for the European Galileo system, awarded the Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award,[citation needed] and named as one of the "Top Ten Great Britons."[by whom?] In 2009 he was awarded the Faraday Medal by the Institute of Engineering and Technology,[citation needed] and an Elektra Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Electronics Industry. In 2014, the Chinese Academy of Sciences award.[8]


  1. ^ a b "SWEETING,". Who's Who. 1998 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. (subscription or UK public library membership required) (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Anon (2000). "Professor Sir OBE FREng FRS". London: Archived from the original on 17 November 2015. One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where:

    "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

  3. ^ Guildford's SSTL leads world in small satellite supply, Clive Cookson, Financial Times, 12 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Guildford Roll of Honour | University of Surrey – Guildford". Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  5. ^ Sweeting, Martin Nicholas (1979). The communications efficiency of electrically short aerials (PhD thesis). University of Surrey. OCLC 500574846.
  6. ^ Britain's spaceman, The Economist Technology Quarterly Q2 2015, 30 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Times Higher Awards, SSTL innovation". 2006.
  8. ^ "Professor Sir Martin Sweeting scoops Space Research award | University of Surrey – Guildford". 6 August 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2016.