15th October 2008 – British small satellite manufacturer, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), has been presented with an award by the European Space Agency (ESA) acknowledging the successful GIOVE A mission and its outstanding contribution to the success of the Galileo programme. The award was presented by Didier Faivre of ESA’s Galileo Directorate to Elizabeth Rooney of SSTL at an event held at the European Space Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, on 13th October 2008.
SSTL was contracted into ESA’s Galileo programme in 2003, when it began building the first test bed satellite as part of the Galileo In Orbit Validation Element (GIOVE) of Galileo. The satellite was rapidly built and launched before the end of 2005. Since then the company has been actively involved with the in-orbit testing of GIOVE-A and, more recently, GIOVE B, launched in April 2008.
Last month, SSTL together with its German partner OHB-System (www.ohb-system.de) was downselected by ESA and the European Commission (EC) as one of two potential suppliers of satellites to the Galileo operational system to be deployed by 2013.
SSTL’s Commercial Director, John Paffett said: "The GIOVE programme clearly demonstrated the benefits of dual-source supply, SSTL’s GIOVE-A was designed, built and tested in a rapid 28 month schedule which allowed Europe to claim the ITU frequency filing. Without GIOVE-A, ESA would have lost the rights to the entire Galileo system. Dual source supply is also important in ensuring that the operational Galileo system is available as soon as possible and at the lowest final cost to the taxpayer. The long term benefit of a competitive supply base for Galileo satellites should not be underestimated."
Paffett believes that market forces will also give Galileo the required boost to develop satellite navigation equipment: "Galileo has a lot to offer the satellite navigation marketplace, whether it’s landing planes or simply providing reliable navigation in the mountains. The possibilities are endless but it won’t happen until the equipment manufacturers see a working constellation in space. The sooner this happens, the better."
SSTL develops innovative technologies to change the economics of space, delivering cost effective satellite missions within rapid timescales. The Company is a world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of high performance small satellites with experience gained over more than 25 years and 32 satellites launched. SSTL employs 300 staff working on LEO, MEO, GEO and interplanetary missions, turnkey satellite platforms and space-proven satellite subsystems and optical systems. The Company also provides training and development programmes and consultancy services, and performs studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers related to platform design, mission analysis and planning. Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is currently owned by the University of Surrey (85%), SSTL staff (5%), and SpaceX of the USA (10%). For more information: www.sstl.co.uk