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Star Award For Guildford’s Space Technology Pioneer

Published on: 24 Oct, 2018
Updated on: 25 Oct, 2018

Sarah Parker, Managing Director of SSTL, receives an International Board of Trade Award. L-R: Woody Johnson, US Ambassador to the UK; Sarah Parker, MD of SSTL; Secretary of State, Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP

The worldwide success of a Guildford hi-tech company with a sky-high reach has been honoured with an International Board of Trade Award, aboard Britain’s new £3bn giant carrier HMS Elizabeth, in New York harbour on a week-long ceremonial visit.

The award was presented to Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd’s managing director, Sarah Parker, by the UK’s International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox at the first international Board of Trade Awards ceremony, hosted by Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff.

Dr Fox, in the US seeking a new US-UK trade deal, said: “As a global leader in the small satellite field, SSTL is a fantastic advocate for international trade. Accountable for 40% of the global small satellite export market, the company is a [great] example of British expertise leading the way in space technology.”

Ms Parker said: “I am delighted to accept this award, a testament to the space-engineering expertise, innovative flair, and collaborative spirit of our employees.”

SSTL’s glittering export track record totals £1.15bn ($1.5bn) over 30 years. It is the world’s leading small-satellite company, specialising in the design, manufacture, test, launch and operation in orbit of the satellites for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions.

Customers include commercial organisations, space agencies, national governments, academia and research institutions. The spacecraft are used for Earth observation and science, navigation, telecommunications, exploration, and technology demonstration in low and medium Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, and beyond Earth’s orbit.

SSTL has built and launched satellites for 20 international customers, as well as providing development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers, with an innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.

Founded in the 1980s, SSTL, with its HQ in Tycho House and adjacent Kepler Building in Surrey Research Park, has mushroomed from just four to 500 employees and now has 40% of the world’s small satellite export market, with an annual turnover of £100m.

Tycho House where the company’s administration is based.

With the launch of seven satellites this year, SSTL has now 57 satellites on 34 launches from eight launch sites around the world and provided 18 space development and training programmes for countries such as: US, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Chile, Thailand and South Korea.

The Kepler building houses the sterile laboratories in which the satellites are assembled and tested.

The pioneering company started the small satellite revolution and has achieved an impressive number of “firsts”, including launching the first satellite to have a web address in orbit (UoSAT-12, 2001), designing and manufacturing the first satellite in Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation programme (GIOVE-A, 2005) and most recently designing, manufacturing and operating the first satellite to demonstrate space debris removal technologies in orbit (RemoveDEBRIS, 2018).

The mini observatory allows physical observation of SSTL’s satellites from their Research Park base while, in the background, the satellite dish enables digital communication.

The order book also sparkles. That includes navigation payloads for the Galileo navigation constellation, six satellite platforms for the FORMOSAT-7 weather forecasting constellation, remote-sensing satellites for UrtheCast’s UrtheDaily constellation, a small geostationary platform for the Eutelsat Quantum telecommunications satellite and a 12U nanosatellite for Honeywell to test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System payload for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation.

There is also a target satellite for ASTROSCALE’s ELSA-d mission which will simulate capture of orbital debris and validate end-of-life spacecraft retrieval services, and an Earth observation satellite for Kazakhstan.

For Guildford’s own SSTL, part of Airbus, it seems, the only way is up.

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Responses to Star Award For Guildford’s Space Technology Pioneer

  1. Janet Ashton Reply

    January 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Perhaps SSTL would be interested in establishing a small community based observatory?

    According to an observatory locations map on the website, there are none in Guildford borough, though many dotted around the rest of the country.

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