SSTL wins Sapphire contract

A Canadian company has awarded Surrey Satellite Technology Limited a contract to deliver a satellite platform as part of the Sapphire space object surveillance programme


A Canadian company has awarded Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) a contract to deliver a satellite platform as part of the Sapphire space object surveillance programme.

Vancouver-based data transmission company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) is the mission prime for the Sapphire project, whose team will include SSTL and COM DEV of Cambridge, Ontario, who will build the payload. As part of their contract, Guildford headquartered SSTL will manufacture a Ground Control Centre and install it in Canada.

The mission will provide a satellite-based Resident Space Object (RSO) observing service that will provide accurate tracking data on deep space orbiting objects. Sapphire will feature a space-based data collection platform for continuous surveillance of manmade objects in medium to high Earth orbits (6,000 to 40,000km). The data collected will be processed by a ground-based system and the results will be used to update the US Satellite Catalogue that is used by North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and Canada to provide space situational awareness.

The two year programme is part of a £34m contract from Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND), with potential to extend the contract to cover mission support, operations and maintenance.