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Space for Everyone

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Clare E Drysdale.

For 50 years space has been considered the preserve of super-powers, however modern ‘microsatellites’, taking advantage of the enormous commercial investments made into consumer electronics, have been able to exploit ‘commercial off-the-shelf’ (COTS) devices developed for the consumer markets to reduce dramatically the size, cost and manufacture times of small and yet highly capable satellites. This is fundamentally changing the economics of space and putting sophisticated space assets within the reach of almost every nation. The UK has pioneered advanced small satellites through research at the Surrey Space Centre and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), formed 25 years ago as a spin off company to transfer academic research to commercial exploitation. Having built and launched 39 satellites for Earth observation, technology demonstration, navigation, space science and disaster monitoring constellations, SSTL continues to thrive as an independent company within the EADS Astrium Group. SSTL is now building 22 navigation payloads for the EC/ESA “Galileo” satellite navigation programme, 3 high resolution optical Earth observation satellites and developing an innovative small radar satellite “NovaSAR” jointly funded by the UK government. Research at the Surrey Space Centre is exploring the technologies and concepts needed for future generations of small satellites – both for Earth orbit and affordable interplanetary exploration.

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