GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed a contract with Honeywell to supply the VESTA satellite platform, a technology demonstration mission that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation. The contract was signed as part of an MOU between Honeywell Aerospace and the UK Space Agency.
John Paffett, SSTL’s Director of Telecommunications, commented “The SSTL nanosatellite range provides flexible and highly capable payload accommodation, engineered with SSTL’s unrivalled class-leading reliability and I am delighted that VESTA will be first nanosatellite to be manufactured in our new NanoLab here in Guildford.”
GUILDFORD, UK (SSTL PR) — Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (GES) have today announced a new partnership to go beyond Earth’s orbit and provide a new model of low cost, high value, space exploration and science. With the ultimate aim of supporting a Solar System network, the SSTL-GES Lunar Pathfinder mission and its successors will provide a system to transport payloads to the Moon together with communications links for these payloads and any other deployed assets back to the Earth.
The mission will support the international development and exploration of space, and the first mission will also provide a new opportunity to transport commercial payloads to lunar orbit. A call for flight opportunities for small lunar missions and payloads is now open and is hosted on a dedicated website www.goonhilly.org/lunar. The call targets the global space community from established space agencies, developing space nations, commercial entities, public and private organisations and universities.
If the current schedule holds, Virgin Galactic’s revamped LauncherOne program will enter commercial service sometime in 2018 after roughly a decade of development. During that period, the program has been redefined several times, lost two of the key people hired to lead it, and changed its launch platform from WhiteKnightTwo to a jumbo jet. The estimates for the initial flight tests also have slipped by about four years from 2013 to 2017.
Below is a timeline of the program’s major events, milestones, announcements, hires and departures, and other things. Feel free to let me know if I’ve missed anything significant.
LONDON (UKSA PR) — The Government is to grant nearly £6 million to co-fund major new British research that will develop commercial products and services using space technology and data from space-based systems.
The grant funding, part of the National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) from the UK Space Agency (www.bis.gov.uk/ukspaceagency) and the Technology Strategy Board (www.innovateuk.org), will support four major research and development consortium projects to be led by Astrium Ltd, Avanti Communications Ltd, DMC International Imaging Ltd and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.
The total value of the R&D, including contributions from the participating companies, is over £11.5 million. The portfolio of projects includes participation by 21 partner companies, universities and research organisations, including 7 SMEs.
SSTL PR — Small satellite pioneer Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) plans to jump-start space innovation by combining state-of-the-art avionics with flight proven systems in a low cost 50kg class satellite platform – and for a price tag of around £2m [$3 million].
Adopting a new set of satellite design paradigms, the SSTL-50 microsatellite has a novel dual-mode design with the sole purpose of supporting and stimulating payload and subsystem innovation. One side of the spacecraft will fly the latest avionics, subsystems and high speed electronics available – either customer supplied or from SSTL – while the other side contains SSTL’s flight proven systems, offering low risk, managed redundancy. (more…)
Insider Media reports that the UK-Russia Year of Space 2011 is about much more than simply celebrating the 50th anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic flight into space:
The decision by the government to share expertise, knowledge and innovation in space science with Russia will be a valuable boost to the work of South East space science businesses. Thatâ€™s according to Guildford-based Surrey Satellite Technology, one of the countryâ€™s biggest space companies. (more…)
Some interesting remarks from Surrey Satellite Technology Chairman Martin Sweeting, who is set to address delegates at the Global Space and Satellite Forum (GSSF) 2011 in Abu Dhabi in May:
“The Middle East region has already demonstrated a keen interest in space-based technologies and I am therefore delighted to be given the opportunity to address the delegates at this year’s GSSF. Small satellites are at the forefront of space innovation, and I believe that there are great opportunities for the region to benefit from the high-tech commercial opportunities in this growing space sector.”
While speaking to the ‘Engineer’ last November, Sir Martin made a prediction which are precisely what you would expect from a visionary. He looks forward to manned space exploration returning within the next ten years after the discovery of significant amounts of water on the Moon and, never one to miss a business opportunity, Sweeting plans to surround the Moon with small satellites to give astronauts internet and communication capabilities.
SSTL applauds Lord Draysonâ€™s announcement of a UK executive Space Agency and believes that in the current climate it is enormously encouraging that the Science Minister has the vision to propose this initiative and the commitment to bring it to fruition.
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has appointed Stephen Gibson Commercial Director effective 1st November with responsibility for contracts, sub-contracts, regulatory and insurance activities.
Stephen is no stranger to SSTL, having been involved in the acquisition of SSTL and in developing the working relationship between SSTL and its new parent company EADS Astrium NV since October 2008, while employed by Astrium.
Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) and Astrium announce a contract for a SpaceX Falcon 1e to launch an Earth observation satellite designed by Astrium or its recently acquired subsidiary Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL).
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and EADS-Astrium have announced the creation of a new â€Space Engineering Innovation Hubâ€ in conjunction with the University of Surrey in Guildford, UK. This new venture will combine academic research and commercial exploitation to develop technologies that â€œchange the economics of spaceâ€ by providing rapid-response, low-cost, highly capable space missions.