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About SSTL

The SSTL story is a showcase of British ingenuity, ambition and engineering expertise

 UoSAT-1  GIOVE-A  NigeriaSat-2

In the mid-1970s space was considered to be such a different environment to Earth that anything sent into the atmosphere needed to be specially designed and tested for the harsh conditions of space.  Naturally, this made building satellites incredibly expensive and time-intensive.  

In the late 1970s, a group of highly-skilled aerospace researchers working at the University of Surrey, including a young Martin Sweeting, decided to experiment by creating a satellite using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components.  The results were surprising.

That first satellite, UoSat-1, was launched in 1981 with the help of NASA and the mission was a great success, outliving its planned three year life by more than five years.  Most importantly, the team showed that relatively small and inexpensive satellites could be built rapidly to perform successful and sophisticated missions.  

In 1985 the University of Surrey formed Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd as a spin-out company to transfer the results of its research into a commercial enterprise.  The growth of the company has accelerated, and our innovative approach to the design, build, test and operation of spacecraft has propelled SSTL to the forefront of the small satellite industry - today we are the supplier  to 40% of the world's small satellite exports market.   

In 2009 Airbus bought a 99% shareholding in the company from the University of Surrey, allowing us to fulfil our growth potential.  Surrey Satellites is now an independent company within the Airbus Defence and Space group.