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Mon, 06 Nov 2006

SSTL signs contract with Federal Republic of Nigeria for supply of Earth observation satellite

Technical press release for space press

British satellite specialists Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) today signed a contract in Abuja for the supply of the NIGERIASAT-2 Earth observation satellite, related ground infrastructure and a training programme to further develop an indigenous space capability in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The selection of SSTL by the National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria follows a detailed technical evaluation and due diligence undertaken by NASRDA’s procurement advisor, Telesat of Canada, confirming the UK company’s position as the world-leading supplier of advanced small satellites.

SSTL will develop the 300kg NIGERIASAT-2 satellite for launch in 2009, based upon its new generation of high resolution Earth observation satellites and taking full advantage of the latest advanced small satellite technologies developed from the recent and highly successful TOPSAT and Beijing-1 missions. NIGERIASAT-2 will carry two payloads: (1) SSTL’s latest-generation high-resolution imager providing 2.5-metre panchromatic and 5-metre 4 band multispectral data with a swath of 20 km and (2) a 32-metre resolution multispectral imager providing data in 4 spectral bands with a wide swath of 300 km.

The contract with SSTL also covers the supply of the ground system and image processing software to allow operation of the satellite and generation of mission products from NASRDA’s new facilities in Abuja. Following commissioning after launch, NIGERIASAT-2 will deliver 100 to 400 geo-processed images per day, depending on the advanced operational mode over its 7-year mission lifetime.

The associated Know-How Transfer and Training (KHTT) programme will build upon the programme delivered by SSTL through the NIGERIASAT-1 programme that ran from 2001 to 2003. The KHTT has both theoretical and detailed ‘on-the-job’ training for 25 Nigerian engineers at SSTL’s new state-of-the-art facilities in Guildford, UK. As part of the contract, NASRDA engineers will also build their own advanced flight-standard training model. An initial part of the KHTT programme, including an MSc programme at the University of Surrey, is already well underway following its commencement in August 2006.

NIGERIASAT-2 will provide Nigeria with continuity of NIGERIASAT-1 data and will continue to contribute fully to the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC), a unique multi-national coordinated constellation of satellites led by SSTL. The contract with NASRDA follows “hot on the heels” of the signature by Deimos (Spain) on 10th October 2006 on a contract with SSTL for an EO microsatellite to join the next generation of the international DMC constellation.

The DMC owes its success to a unique concept created and led by SSTL whereby each member of the DMC consortium (Algeria, China, Nigeria, Spain, Turkey, UK) owns and operates its own satellite, whilst co-operating with the other DMC members on satellite tasking and image capture to achieve a 24-hour revisit worldwide. The DMC satellites have been manufactured by SSTL and their operation in orbit is coordinated by DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii), a subsidiary of SSTL.

The NIGERIASAT-2 contract adds to an already successful year for SSTL and is expected to create up to 50 new jobs in the UK. Alongside the recent contract with Deimos (Spain) and the successful launches of TOPSAT, Beijing-1 and GIOVE-A missions at the end of 2005, this contract further illustrates SSTL’s ability to manage multiple complex space missions successfully, at low cost and within short delivery timescales.

Following contract signature, SSTL’s CEO Sir Martin Sweeting noted “I am delighted that NASRDA has decided to continue its successful partnership with SSTL on such a critical operational and training programme for Nigeria. Nigeria is a very valued member of the DMC and its continued cooperation with SSTL and DMCii ensures the operational status of the international DMC is extended even further. NASRDA’s decision also confirms SSTL as the world-leading supplier of operational small satellites.”

By signing this contract with SSTL, Nigeria takes another large step in the development of their National Space Plan, building upon the existing NIGERIASAT-1 Earth Observation microsatellite supplied by SSTL in 2003 and the NIGCOMSAT-1 communications satellite currently being built by China for launch in 2008.

Commenting on the contract, NASRDA’s Director General, Professor Robert Boroffice, stated “this contract is the next step in Nigeria’s long term plans to use Space for the benefit of Nigeria and Africa. We are convinced that Space provides a cost-effective means of addressing many of the issues facing African nations such as mapping, water resources management, agricultural land use monitoring, population estimation, health hazard monitoring and disaster mitigation and management”.

Editors Notes:

Press release and images available on www.ballard.co.uk – follow “editors” link. Photography of the contract signing will be made available shortly after the event.

About NASRDA

The National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria is an agency under the Federal Ministry of Science & Technology whose mission is the use of home-grown capabilities for space science research, development and applications.

NASRDA is tasked with implementing the national space policy of Nigeria and in line with this have several specialised centres and dedicated programmes in place to realise this important national objective. In 2003, NASRDA launched an Earth observation satellite, NigeriaSat-1, in constellation with other countries.

NASRDA also commissioned the development of a communications satellite, NigComsat-1, with C, Ku, Ka and L bands. NigComsat-1 will provide the most optimal and cost-effective voice, data, video, Internet & application services coverage for Africa. See: www.nasrda.org

About SSTL and DMCii

Based in Guilford, England, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. is a 200-strong, $55M turnover private company formed in 1985 by the University of Surrey to commercialise the results of its innovative small satellite engineering research. The Company, majority owned by the University and with minority holdings by its staff and SpaceX (USA), has enjoyed steady growth in revenues of ~20% each year since 2000. SSTL recently acquired the SIRA Space Optics Division to enhance its in-house capability for satellite Earth observation instruments.

SSTL was the first professional organisation to offer low-cost small satellites with rapid response employing advanced terrestrial technologies. SSTL supplies the international marketplace, with customers including ESA, NASA, French DGA, USAF, US DOE, China and UK BNSC & MoD. SSTL was the prime contractor for the 5 DMC satellites thus far launched and their associated ground systems. The DMC system provides 24-hour revisit imaging for national applications, commercial users and in response to natural and man-made disasters.

In October 2005 SSTL launched the 2.5-metre resolution 120kg TOPSAT optical Earth imaging microsatellite for the UK government and a 4-metre resolution imaging satellite for the Beijing Landview Mapping Information Technology Co. Ltd. of China also operating in the DMC. In December 2005, SSTL launched the 600kg GIOVE-A for the European Space Agency, being the first satellite in the European Galileo navigation system.

SSTL is currently manufacturing the satellite platforms for the US Department of Energy's CFESat; the five-satellite commercial imaging constellation RapidEye due for launch in late 2006 and mid-2007 respectively and a new DMC satellite for Deimos (Spain) for launch in 2008.

DMC International Imaging Ltd (DMCii) is a subsidiary formed by SSTL in October 2004 as a UK supplier of remote sensing data products and services for international Earth Observation (EO) markets. DMCii supplies both programme-on-request and archived optical satellite imagery provided by the DMC satellites. DMC data is now used in a wide variety of commercial and government applications including agriculture, forestry and environmental mapping.

The small EO satellites of the DMC provide daily revisit in combination with an unmatched 600km multispectral imaging swath width at 32 metre ground sample distance for frequent broad-area coverage. DMC data products are calibrated and processed to a variety of levels according to customer requirements. The latest DMC satellites (Beijing-1 and NIGERIASAT-2) provide high resolution image data expanding the market for DMCii products.

In partnership with the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and the other DMC member nations (Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey), DMCii uses the commercial exploitation of the DMC small satellite constellation to fund co-ordination of the DMC for humanitarian use in the event of major international disasters. DMCii works with the UN, the European Space Agency and the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters during disasters such as Tsunami, Fire, Flooding and Hurricanes.

See: www.sstl.co.uk and www.dmcii.com

Press Contact:

Robin Wolstenholme

Ballard Communications Management (BCM)

Tel: 01306 882288

Email: r.wolstenholme (at) ballard.co.uk