Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has been based on the Surrey Research Park in Guildford since 2006, having been located in various locations around the south east of England since its launch nearly 40 years ago
Borne of the first successful launch of ‘small-sat’ UoSAT-1, and built using commercial off-the-shelf components by the company’s Chairman Sir Martin Sweeting - then a University of Surrey researcher - SSTL has grown to
become a global space industry powerhouse.
SatelliteVu MWIR Pathfinder
SSTL is building a Mid Wave Infra-Red (MWIR) thermal imaging satellite for Satellite Vu. The pathfinder satellite will pave the way for a planned constellation of MWIR spacecraft which will have the ability to measure the heat signature of any building anywhere multiple times a day. This will then enable SatelliteVu to derive new insights in real time about building emissions, energy use and insulation.
With funding from the European Space Agency’s Scout programme, SSTL is building HydroGNSS, a 55kg small satellite to measure climate change variables. HydroGNSS will take measurements of key hydrological climate variables, including soil moisture, freeze thaw state over permafrost, inundation and wetlands, and above ground biomass.
It will use a technique called GNSS Reflectometry which exploits existing signals from Global Navigation Satellites, such as GPS and Galileo, as radar signal sources. The HydroGNSS mission will assist with the fight against climate change by providing valuable measurements using space technology.
The Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft is designed to provide affordable communications services to lunar missions via S-band and UHF links to lunar assets on the surface and in orbit around the Moon, and an X-band link to Earth. Due to launch 2025, the Lunar Pathfinder spacecraft will be a mission enabler for polar and far-side missions, which, without direct line of sight of the Earth, would otherwise have to procure their own communications relay spacecraft.
Lunar Pathfinder is a more cost-effective alternative to direct-to-Earth solutions, and a credible alternative to institutional deep-space ground stations, offering orbiters and near-side missions a better availability, enhanced safety and improved data-rate.
SSTL’s impact in the UK
In the UK, 5.6 million businesses are SMEs; small to medium sized organisations with a turnover of less than €50 million and fewer than 250 employees (source: www.gov.uk).
SSTL has been an SME for much of its time so the company understands the challenges but also the unique strengths, agility and space-potential of SMEs in the South East and the UK as a whole. The SSTL supply chain is 80% UK based and in 2022, over a third of those are SME organisations, many of whom are based in the local area.
SSTL is at the forefront of the UK space industry supply chain strategy. Inspired by the ambitious goals set forth in the National Space Strategy published in September 2021, and the UK Space Agency’s Corporate Plan 2022-2025, SSTL is honoured to be a founding member and part of the Advisory Board representing industry at the new Surrey-Hampshire space cluster ‘Space South-Central’.
Space South-Central brings together local government and the UK Space Agency, all levels of academia as well as industry to help unlock further growth and potential in the space sector.
As a part of the UK manufacturing industry and with 40 years’ experience of working with supplier organisations in the South East and around the country, SSTL knows that the key to unlocking that ambitious growth is the UK supply chain - those already in the space industry and those who are yet to join it.
One of Space South Central’s mission objectives is to inspire people to take their careers into space, whether that is straight from education or coming from a different career or industry altogether. This includes manufacturing organisations and service providers; SSTL can’t build our satellites unless its suppliers have the right skillsets available in their workforce or local area to make the parts!
Space IS fascinating and inspirational and it can help organisations recruit the talent needed if it is known the part being designed or made will be going in to orbit on satellites such as Lunar Pathfinder or Satellite Vu.
That is why SSTL involves itself in Outreach, to educate and inspire through events like World Space Week and the Guildford High Street Takeover and careers events, school liaisons and more.
If you want to find out more about where the UK space industry is headed, Space South Central, how to be considered for the SSTL supply chain, or to see the career opportunities available right now, please visit the links below or get in touch!