Press Release

SSTL’s European GNSS payload passes design review

By SpaceRef Editor
March 14, 2011
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Payloads being delivered by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) for Europe’s future satellite navigation system have passed the Preliminary Design Review (PDR), having proved to a panel including the European Space Agency (ESA) that they demonstrated a sufficient level of design maturity.

SSTL is teamed with OHB System of Bremen, Germany for the provision of the first fourteen satellites in the Full Operational Capability (FOC) phase of Europe’s new Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), which will provide accurate and resilient navigation services globally. OHB is the prime contractor and builder of the spacecraft platform and SSTL is responsible for delivering the satellites’ navigation payloads which form the heart of the navigation system.

SSTL CEO Matt Perkins commented, “This is an important milestone in a very demanding programme. While there are still technical challenges to overcome, the conclusion of the PDR demonstrates customer confidence in the proposed design and the ability of our SSTL team to deliver on time.”

Each FOC payload will comprise a number of subsystems that will combine to generate the navigation messages broadcast by the satellites directly to a user’s receiver on Earth. Each payload comprises numerous subsystems from specialist European suppliers including two types of atomic clocks, signal generators, high power amplifiers and antennas. The first of these subsystems are being delivered to SSTL now.

Production schedules for the FOC payloads are extremely challenging to all parties involved. The delivery of the first payload is scheduled for late 2011, after which a production line will be started and the subsequent payloads will be delivered at 6-week intervals.

SSTL will shortly commence work on the Engineering Model Payload which will provide early evidence of the FOC payload’s capabilities in support of the satellite Critical Design Review (CDR) which is scheduled for later summer 2011. A secure cleanroom in SSTL’s new technical facility, due for completion in May, will be used to test and integrate this Engineering Model and the FOC payloads.

This document has been produced under funding of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union and/or ESA. The Full Operational Capability phase of the Galileo programme is managed and fully funded by the European Commission. The Commission and ESA have signed a delegation agreement by which ESA acts as design and procurement agent on behalf of the Commission. “Galileo” is a trademark subject to OHIM application number 002742237 by EU and ESA.

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 300 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.

Since 1981 SSTL has built and launched 34 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.

Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by EADS Astrium NV. 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:

Press Contact:

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

SpaceRef staff editor.