October 3, 2011
Novel Design Approach Offers Vehicle For Space Innovation
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.
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.
Despite its small size, the SSTL-50 is a sophisticated satellite with sufficient payload accommodation to carry commercial payloads such as the SSTL 22m SLIM-6 imager or low power RF payloads. This platform is also designed for flexible payload integration, providing a vehicle to trial innovative payloads in space — with a rapid delivery of just 12 months from kick-off.
For many institutions, launch and insurance costs can constrain space programs and prevent payloads from being demonstrated in space. In addition to the cost savings offered by its low mass, two SSTL-50 satellites can be launched in a face-to-face “brace” position, making the most efficient use of available space in the launch vehicle.
Supporting capacity building and training the next generation of space engineers is another important role for the SSTL-50, where it provides the facility to develop a low cost but fully capable mission in parallel to a training and development program.
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