Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has confirmed the launch on 10 July 2015 of three 1-metre resolution optical Earth Observation satellites that will form the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation. The satellites were placed into a 651km sun-synchronous Low Earth Orbit by a PSLV-XL launch vehicle from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota launch site in India. The launch agency is ANTRIX and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of SSTL, said “These new satellites are the latest and the most advanced of SSTL’s Earth Observation spacecraft mounted on a PSLV rocket dedicated to our mission - it was really exciting to be able to push the green button for launch and see them off into orbit!”
Following confirmation of separation of all three spacecraft from the launch vehicle, the ground station at SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford, UK and at Svalbard successfully established contact with the satellites. SSTL’s engineers will now begin the commissioning of the platform systems on board the three satellites, with commissioning of the imaging payloads commencing once platform commissioning is complete.
The three spacecraft use the 450kg SSTL-300S1 series platform. The agile SSTL-300S1 platform provides 45 degree fast slew off-pointing and is capable of acquiring multiple targets in one pass using multiple viewing modes. The very high resolution imager on board the satellites was designed and manufactured by SSTL and will provide 1 metre ground sampling distance (GSD) in panchromatic mode, and 4 metre GSD in multispectral mode, with a swath width of 23.4km.
The three satellites will be phased 120 degrees apart around the same orbit using their on board propulsion systems within three months after the launch; thus with off-pointing capability, the DMC3/TripleSat Satellite Constellation will be able to target anywhere on Earth once per day. In addition, the wide swath width of the satellites provides the best combination of spatial resolution and time resolution – aiming at stimulating operational monitoring applications, such as urban planning and intelligent management, based on changes detected by timely and regular cloud-free, very high-resolution imagery.
The Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Company Ltd (21AT), a commercial Earth observation satellite operator based in Beijing, has bought the imaging capacity of the three satellites. The cooperative contract for the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation was signed in London in 2011 and witnessed by the UK Prime Minister, and China’s Premier.
Mme Wu Shuang, CEO & President of 21AT, said: “I am very glad that the three satellites are in orbit and have started communication with the ground station. It is the first step of our long march and we are looking forward to the commencement of our BJII data services following the completion of the commissioning of the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation.”
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including Earth observation, science and communications. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with over 500 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.
Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched 47 satellites – as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA , international governments and commercial customers, with an innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.
Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL is part of the Airbus Group.
Twenty First Century Aerospace Technology Co. Ltd. is the first and only EO commercial satellite operator in China. Its headquarters is in Beijing, employs more than 300 employees and has been providing remote sensing applications in China since the launch of its first satellite – Beijing-1 in 2005. Beijing-1 is one of five satellites in DMC that had provided international disaster response through International Charter and Beijing-1 satellite imagery to international customers. Based on Beijing-1 success, 21AT has acquired the new capability of three 1m satellites in a constellation for BJII service. In orbit commission is expected to be completed three months after the launch. 21AT will start the operational satellite data services from the DMC3/TripleSat Constellation following the completion of the commission. 21AT will create new applications for customers and business opportunities for worldwide partners through its operational monitoring services powered by DMC3/TripleSat Constellation.
Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), incorporated in 1992, is a wholly-owned Government of India Company under the administrative control of the Department of Space (DOS) and the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Antrix promotes and commercially exploits the products and services emanating from the Indian Space Programme. Antrix was awarded the ‘MINIRATNA’ status in the year 2008. So far, Antrix has provided launch services on-board PSLV for 40 customer satellites from 19 countries. In addition to providing launch services for international customers satellites, Antrix provides communications satellite transponder for broadcasting and telecommunications services, markets data from Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) Satellites, builds and markets satellites and satellite subsystems and extends mission support services for satellite launches.