- Press Release
- Oct 31, 2023
SSTL celebrates 15 years in business
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
University of Surrey
Guildford, Surrey, U.K.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) this week celebrates the 15th anniversary of the Company’s founding — to be marked at the end of the month by the launch their two latest small satellite missions. These latest launches will bringing the total number of satellites launched by Surrey to 18 — with more small satellites built and launched than their total years in business — and total sales to a value of £64M ($100M USD)!
SSTL, a company currently owned by the University of Surrey, was formed on 11 June 1985, the culmination of six years of research by Professor Martin Sweeting and his team of Surrey engineers into the development of low cost, small satellites.
The Early Days … With two successful launches in the early 1980’s and recognising the potential worldwide market for small satellites, Sweeting convinced the University that it was time to exploit the ideas developed initially through academic research — and so SSTL was born.
Following the launch of three further SSTL microsatellites in 1990-92 carrying various customers’ payloads, SSTL went on to win commercial and military microsatellites and, in 1993, achieved an annual turnover of £5.6 million, moving to purpose-built facilities at the Surrey Space Centre in Guildford in 1994.
Leading to Business Success … Today, SSTL are world leaders in small satellite missions with a staff of more than 100 dedicated engineers and support staff working on micro-, mini- and now nano-satellite missions, for an international customer base which includes the French MoD, US Air Force, DBS Industries Inc, Alcatel and NASA. SSTL currently has an order-book amounting to £98M through to 2002.
Continuous SmallSat Development … With a programme of continuous development, SSTL remains at the leading edge of small satellite missions. In 1999, SSTL launched its first 315kg minisatellite and demonstrated agile high resolution multi-spectral and panchromatic Earth imaging with autonomous orbit control at a tiny fraction of the cost of conventional EO missions. This month sees the launch of SNAP-1, the world’s most advanced nanosatellite. Weighing just 6.5kg, SNAP-1 was designed and built by SSTL in less than a year. Among its mission objectives, SNAP-1 will demonstrate orbital formation flying for the first time and rendezvous and image another spacecraft (Tsinghua-1) in-orbit.
Know-how Transfer & Training … Through close links with the University, SSTL has been able to develop a unique Know-How Transfer and Training programme for emerging space nations across the world. This highly successful programme has already enabled Pakistan, South Korea, Portugal, South Africa, Chile, Thailand, Malaysia, & Singapore to achieve their first space missions and collaborate through the åSurrey Space Club’. New programmes with China and Turkey are underway at Surrey.
Research & Training … The Surrey Space Centre has established itself as the international centre of excellence in academic research, teaching and commercial applications for small satellites. Six thriving research groups explore long-term concepts and advanced satellite techniques alongside providing postgraduate degree courses. The Centre has published over 250 papers on small satellites.
Recognition … Among its many accolades, Surrey was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education in Satellite Engineering and Communication in 1996; The Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1998 during a royal visit, plus many notable awards to individuals at Surrey — the latest being the election of Professor Martin Sweeting as a Fellow of the Royal Society for his pioneering and revolutionary work on small satellites.
What Next … As the international space industry increasingly looks towards small satellites for affordable access to space, SSTL is leading several micro-minisatellite constellations for Earth observation and communications: ESAT (USA); RapidEye (Germany); GANDER (UK) and the international Disaster Monitoring Constellation. And by 2002, Surrey aims to have one of its minisatellites in orbit around the Moon!
– end –
Further information contact:
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
Surrey Space Centre
University of Surrey
GU2 5XH UK
Tel: +44 1483 259 278
Fax: +44 1483 259 503