Press Release

SSTL’s 40th satellite platform launch: Sapphire reaches orbit

By SpaceRef Editor
February 25, 2013
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Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) is delighted that the Sapphire satellite, developed by prime contractor MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) on an SSTL-150 platform, has been successfully launched today from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, India, marking the 40th spacecraft launch for SSTL since 1981.

Dr Matt Perkins, SSTL’s CEO commented “We are proud to have been selected to provide the satellite platform, spacecraft control centre, and commissioning operations support for this important mission, which marks the 40th spacecraft launch for SSTL since 1981.”

Sapphire is the Canadian Department of National Defence’s first dedicated operational military satellite. This space-based electro-optical sensor will track man-made space objects in Earth orbits between 6000 and 40,000 km in altitude as part of Canada’s continued support of Space Situational Awareness. Data from the Sapphire satellite will contribute to the U.S. Space Surveillance Network, enhancing the ability of both countries to detect and avoid the collision of critical space platforms with other satellites or pieces of debris.

SSTL’s 150 satellite platform is capable of supporting a wide range of payloads and has over 10 years in-orbit heritage, being previously flown on TopSat, Beijing-1, CFESat and the five-satellite RapidEye constellation. SSTL are also supporting the commissioning phase of the spacecraft mission by providing operations support both at MDA’s operations centre in Canada and also at SSTL’s own mission control in Guildford, UK.

About SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world’s leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science and communications. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with over 500 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.

Since 1981 SSTL has built and launched 40 satellites – as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers, with its innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.

In 2008 the Company set up a US subsidiary, Surrey Satellite Technology US LLC (SST-US) with facilities in Denver, Colorado to address the United States market and its customers for the provision of small satellite solutions, applications and services.

Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by Astrium BV.

Notes to editor:

This press release can be downloaded as a Word or Pdf document at the following url:

SSTL Contact:

Joelle Sykes, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
Tel: +44 (0)1483 804243 Email:

Robin Wolstenholme, bcm public relations
Tel: +44(0)1306 882288 Email:

SpaceRef staff editor.