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Satellite Communications Technology

KazSTSat and VESTA due to lift-off on Spaceflight’s SSO-A SmallSat Express mission

(15 November 2018 - SSTL) KazSTSat and VESTA, two small satellites designed and manufactured at Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), are due to launch on Spaceflight’s SSO-A SmallSat Express Mission on board a SpaceX Falcon 9 launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base later this month.

KazSTSat is a small Earth observation satellite jointly developed by SSTL and JV Ghalam LLP, a joint venture between JSC "National Company Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary" (KGS) and Airbus. The satellite has a mass of 105kg and will acquire image data at 18.7 m GSD with a swath width of 275 km. The spacecraft carries several experimental and demonstration units, including a beyond diffraction limit imager, a sun sensor, and a novel OBCARM. KazSTSat will be operated by Ghalam, using a fully virtualized ground segment with S/X-band software defined back-ends deployed at KSAT ground stations in Svalbard and a technology demonstration ground station in Astana.

VESTA is a 3U nanosatellite technology demonstration mission that will test a new two-way VHF Data Exchange System (VDES) payload developed by Honeywell for the exactEarth advanced maritime satellite constellation. The 4kg satellite has 3-axis pointing capability, an SEU tolerant on-board computer, VxWorks operating system and also flies a Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) VHF deployable antenna system developed by Innovative Solutions in Space for the VDES transceiver. VESTA will be operated in orbit by SSTL, with the payload data being downlinked directly in S-Band to Goonhilly Earth Station.

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KazSTSat during assembly at SSTL. (courtesy: SSTL)

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VESTA nanosatellite. (courtesy: SSTL/Emily Kelly)

The development of VESTA was co-funded by the UK Space Agency through its National Space Technology Programme (NSTP) which stimulates the growth and development of the UK space sector through investing in technology development. The project was led by Honeywell.

About SSTL

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, communications, navigation, in-orbit servicing and beyond Earth infrastructure. The Company designs, manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with 500 staff working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical instruments.

Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched more than 50 satellites for 20 international customers – 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 Airbus.