Surrey Satellite Technology

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Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
FoundedGuildford, Surrey, UK (1985)[citation needed]
HeadquartersGuildford, Surrey
Key people
Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, Group Executive Chairman
Sarah Parker, MD from November 2017
ProductsSatellites and related services
Revenue£2.6m on £92m sales for FY 2011.[1] £30m turnover, £1.5m pre-tax profit were expected for FY 2006.[2]
Number of employees

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, or SSTL, is a spin-off company of the University of Surrey, now fully owned by Airbus Defence and Space, that builds and operates small satellites. Its satellites began as amateur radio satellites known by the UoSAT (University of Surrey SATELLITE) name or by an OSCAR (Orbital Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) designation. SSTL funds research projects with the University's Surrey Space Centre, which does research into satellite and space topics.

The University sold a 10% share of SSTL to SpaceX in January 2005. It then agreed to sell its majority share (roughly 80% of the capital) to EADS Astrium in April 2008.[3] In August 2008 SSTL opened a US subsidiary[4] which it closed in 2017.[5]

SSTL was awarded the Queen's Award for Technological Achievement in 1998, and the Queen's Awards for Enterprise in 2005. In 2006 SSTL won the Times Higher Education Supplement award for outstanding contribution to innovation and technology.[6] In 2009 SSTL ranked 89 out of the 997 companies that took part in the Sunday Times Top 100 companies to work for.[7]


Surrey Satellite was founded in Guildford, Surrey, UK in 1985.[citation needed]

In 2002, SSTL moved into remote sensing services with the launch of the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) and an associated child company, DMC International Imaging.[citation needed] SSTL also adopted the Internet Protocol for the DMC satellites it builds and operates, migrating from use of the AX.25 protocol popular in amateur radio.[when?] The CLEO Cisco router in Low Earth Orbit, on board the UK-DMC satellite along with a network of payloads, takes advantage of this adoption of the Internet Protocol. In 2010 and 2012 SSTL was awarded contracts to supply 22 navigation payloads[8] for Europe's Galileo space navigation system and in 2017 was awarded a contract to supply a further 12 payloads [9].

In 2008, Surrey formed a US subsidiary, Surrey Satellite Technology-US, in Englewood, Colorado to focus on the US smallsat market. In June 2017, SSTL announced they would close the Colorado satellite manufacturing facility in the US and would consolidate all manufacturing back into the UK.[4][5]


  • Eutelsat Quantum satellite platform consisting of a central thrust tube housing a bipropellent chemical propulsion system, GEO momentum wheels and gyro. [10] small geostationary platform. Delivered to Airbus in Toulouse January 2019 for assembly and testing.
  • COSMIC-2/FORMOSAT-7 for National Space Organization (Taiwan) and NOAA (US). Atmospheric limb sounding by GNSS radio occultation, ionospheric research; follow-on mission to COSMIC/FORMOSAT-3
  • VESTA-1 a technology demonstration mission for Honeywell launched December 2018 that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation.[11]
  • NovaSAR-1:- Part funded by UK Government, S-Band SAR Payload supplied by Airbus Defence &Space. S-Band Synthetic Aperture Radar to help monitor suspicious shipping activity.[12] Launched on 16 September 2018, by ISRO.[13]
  • RemoveDEBRIS: Active Debris Removal (ADR) technology demonstration in 2018[14] (e.g. capture, deorbiting) representative of an operational scenario during a low-cost mission using novel key technologies.[15] RemoveDebris will deploy a representative small satellite and then will recapture and de-orbit it. Launched on 2 April 2018 to the International Space Station, deployed from the KIBO airlock on the ISS in June 2018.[16] [17]
  • Telesat LEO prototype satellite for Telesat as part of a test and validation phase for an advanced, global LEO satellite constellation. Launched January 2018 [18] [19]
  • CARBONITE-2, an Earth Observation technology demonstration mission owned and operated by SSTL and launched January 2018 which successfully demonstrated video-from-orbit capability.[20][21]
  • TripleSat: A Constellation of 3 Earth observation satellites imaging at 1m resolution. Image data leased to Chinese company 21AT. [22]
  • Five RapidEye satellite platforms delivered to MDA MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates for the RapidEye Constellation and successfully launched from Baikonur on 29 August 2008.
  • UK-DMC 2 and Deimos-1 were launched on a Dnepr rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on 29 July 2009.
  • NigeriaSat-2 and NX satellites, successfully launched on 17 August 2011. [23]
  • exactView-1, successfully launched on 22 July 2012 on a Soyuz rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. [24]
  • SAPPHIRE: Providing a satellite-based Resident Space Object (RSO) observing service that will provide accurate tracking data on deep space orbiting objects. Sapphire is the Canadian Department of National Defence's first dedicated operational military satellite. Its space-based electro-optical sensor will track man-made space objects in Earth orbits between 6000 and 40,000 km as part of Canada's continued support of Space Situational Awareness and the U.S. Space Surveillance Network by updating the U.S. Satellite Catalogue that is used by both NORAD and Canada.[25]
  • STRaND-1:[26] Surrey Training, Research and Nanosatellite Development 1, launched in 2013, flies several new technologies for space applications and demonstration including the use of Android (operating system) open source operating system on a Smartphone.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ SSTL Revenues and Profit Down Sharply[permanent dead link], Peter de Selding, Space News, 15 February 2007.
  2. ^ How to build space satellites out of iPods, Malcolm Moore and Roger Highfield, Daily Telegraph, 29 December 2005.
  3. ^ EADS Astrium signs an agreement to acquire Surrey Satellite Technology Limited from the University of Surrey[permanent dead link], press release, 7 April 2008.
  4. ^ a b Surrey Satellite Technology US opens for business Archived 28 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine, SSTL press release, 5 August 2008.
  5. ^ a b
  6. ^ SSTL wins Times Higher award, 16 November 2006.
  7. ^ SSTL earn Sunday Times Award Archived 27 April 2009 at, SSTL space blog, 17 MArch 2009.
  8. ^ "BBC News online".
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Space News".
  11. ^ Launched 3 December 2018. "Satellite Today".
  12. ^ NovaSAR: UK radar satellite to track illegal marine shipping activity. Jonathan Amos, BBC News. 16 September 2018.
  13. ^ "ISRO Launches 2 UK Earth Observation Satellites Successfully". Headlines Today. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
  14. ^ RemoveDebris: Space junk mission prepares for launch. Rebecca Morelle, BBC News. 28 November 2017.
  15. ^ "The Guardian".
  16. ^ Space junk demo mission launches. Jonathan Amos, BBC News. 2 April 2018.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Telesat website".
  19. ^
  20. ^ Allison, George (1 March 2018). "Royal Air Force surveillance satellite launched into space". UK Defence Journal. Retrieved 2 March 2018.
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ SSTL's 40th satellite platform launch: Sapphire reaches orbit,, 26 February 2013
  26. ^ "STRaND-1 smartphone nanosatellite". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°14′31″N 0°37′01″W / 51.24194°N 0.61694°W / 51.24194; -0.61694