Demonstration satellite gets grant for design phase

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Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) has been awarded a grant to commence the design of a national technology demonstration satellite called TechDemoSat-1.

The UK’s Technology Strategy Board and the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) provided the grant of £770,000 to fund the design, while SSTL, UK industry and UK academia will fund the development of the payload technologies.

Following the design phase, an additional grant of £2.7m will be provided to enable SSTL to build and test the satellite.

TechDemoSat-1 will be the first collaborative UK satellite launched since the establishment of the UK Space Agency and will demonstrate the capabilities of small satellite technology for scientific and commercial applications. It will also be among the first missions to make use of the ground-station facilities that are currently under construction at the UK’s new International Space Innovation Centre (ISIC) at Harwell, Oxfordshire.

TechDemoSat-1 will carry a number of diverse UK payloads to demonstrate the potential of small satellite-based missions to monitor shipping, humanity’s impact on the planet and providing in-situ measurements of a range of space radiation from low-energy plasmas to high-energy cosmic-ray particles.

Payload partners (while still under final selection) are expected to include ComDEV Europe, SSTL, Selex GALILEO, Qinetiq, Aero Sekur, RAL Space, Oxford University, Surrey University, Leicester University, MSSL and The Langton Star Centre (providing a UK schools experiment).