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Space Blog

MP Malcolm Wicks visits leaders in UK space

Malcolm Wicks MP, who was appointed UK Minister of State for Science and Innovation on the 10th November, dropped in to SSTL’s new purpose-built offices last Friday upon invitation to a briefing on the Company's capabilities and the insider's view of the UK space industry. Here’s a summary of the hot topics.
(left to right) Professor Chris Snowden, Malcolm Wicks, MP, Sir Martin
Minister Wicks and Paula Freedman (Director of Space Applications and Transportation at the British National Space Centre) were accompanied by Professor Chris Snowden (Vice Chancellor) of Surrey University, SSTL's majority shareholder. Pan Altlantic cooperation on the horizon? The visit to SSTL followed a meeting the previous day between the Minister and Dr Mike Griffin, Administrator of NASA, when a possible role in lunar exploration using the UK's small satellite expertise was amongst the issues discussed. A global space exploration strategy is being developed by the world's space agencies. It will co-ordinate worldwide efforts to return to the Moon and to explore the solar system with robots, so preparing for the historic first human mission to Mars. Following the meeting an enthusiastic Minister Wicks commented,
"It's exciting for us to discuss with NASA the possibilities for UK involvement in lunar exploration.
"The UK is a world leader in the market of small affordable satellites. Future collaborations could potentially have a strong commercial return for UK companies in this area.
"This could be the world's largest science and technology programme. We will be considering whether there is an opportunity to build a partnership with the US. We want UK businesses and scientists to benefit from this programme."
SSTL’s satellite engineering heritage and recent successes
MP Malcom Wicks mid discussion with Sir Martin
SSTL CEO Sir Martin Sweeting presented the Company's capabilities, its heritage built upon 26 successful satellite launches and exciting technologies currently under development. The presentation included GIOVE-A, which was the first satellite launched in 2005 as part of the planned European Galileo navigation system leading up to more recent highlights from the last 2 months. These included contracts for high and medium resolution Earth imaging satellites signed with the Nigerian National Space Research & Development Agency, and Deimos (Spain) for launch in 2009 and 2008 respectively. No SSTL briefing would be complete without a discussion of the SSTL operated Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) which is taking a leading role in international disaster response through membership of the International Charter: Space and Major Disasters. It was time to hand over to Paul Stephens, Marketing Director of DMC International Imaging (DMCii), who spoke about the DMC and how it uses 32m multi-spectral resolution and 4m panchromatic payloads to capture images from a wider swath width (600km) of the Earth than are possible with existing systems in order to maximise the efficacy of the constellation. More than just Disaster Monitoring As regular Space Blog readers will know, the DMC is used for more than just monitoring disasters. Mr Stephens demonstrated the range of applications that have been stimulated by the constellation's unique daily revisit capability including precision agriculture, fire and flood monitoring in addition to the benefits of wide area coverage which include monitoring deforestation in the Amazon basin, land cover mapping in Europe, whole country mapping and illicit crop monitoring. Into the heart of production
Mission Control Guildford: Mr Wicks meets Phd students David Bamber and Ka Bian
Following a tour of the groundstation and manufacturing design laboratories, Sir Martin Sweeting accompanied Minister Wicks on a tour of the Assembly, Integration and Test facilities on the Surrey Space Centre, where the five satellites of the RapidEye constellation being built for MDA on behalf of German company RapidEye AG. As part of SSTL's continuing growth strategy - recently manifested in the signing of the NigeriaSat-2 and DEIMOS contracts mentioned in this blog, SSTL is recruiting heavily over the next few months. Over 30 roles are currently being filled, particularly in Project Management, Mechanical Engineering and Systems Engineering. Keep your eyes on Space Blog and the SSTL website for mre details.





07 December 20060 Comments1 Comment

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