At a ceremony held in Algiers on Wednesday 9 August, SSTL signed a contract worth approximately £8 million with the Centre National des Techniques Spatiales (CNTS) of Algeria for an advanced Earth Observation microsatellite within a comprehensive know-how transfer and training programme.
At the same time, a long term Collaboration Agreement was also signed between CNTS and the Surrey Space Centre for research and education to prepare Algeria for the development of a national space programme.
Algeria is the first country formally to join the international Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC) led by Surrey and comprising five microsatellites in low Earth orbit to provide daily imaging world-wide for the monitoring and mitigation of natural and man-made disasters and dynamic Earth observation. Last month, the UK BNSC awarded SSTL funding for one microsatellite in the DMC and three further countries are expected to join the DMC during August & September. The DMC is planned for launch in 2002.
Within the collaborative programme between SSTL and CNTS, a team of Algerian engineers will commence work at Surrey in September, working alongside SSTL engineers for 18 months on the design, build, launch and commissioning of Algeria’s first microsatellite, AlSAT-1. The programme includes the installation of a mission control groundstation in Algeria and associated training. A number of Algerian engineers will undertake MSc and PhD academic courses at the Surrey Space Centre commencing this autumn.
CNTS are the eleventh international organisation to take advantage of SSTL’s detailed satellite know-how transfer and training programmes and flight heritage proven over 18 small satellite missions which enable developing space nations, in particular, to embark upon their own national space programme.
SSTL’s CEO, Professor Martin Sweeting, speaking in Algiers at the signing ceremony said: "CNTS has shown considerable foresight in realising the potential of micro and minisatellites to provide a rapid and affordable entry into space for Algiers at low risk to meet urgent national needs. We are indeed very pleased to work with our Algerian colleagues and especially to welcome them into the DMC"
In 1998, SSTL established the Surrey Space Club as a forum for the 11 members who have shared heritage with Surrey. The Surrey Space Club holds an annual two-day forum where members enjoy the opportunity to discuss their space programmes and form projects on which they might work collaboratively.
In 1999, SSTL launched its 320kg minisatellite for EO and communications research and, in June 2000, launched a highly advanced and integrated 6kg nanosatellite to demonstrate satellite formation flying in orbit.
– end –
Further information from:
Audrey Nice
Press & Publicity
Dr Wei Sun
Marketing Manager
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd
Surrey Space Centre
University of Surrey
Tel: +44 (0)1483 259 278
Fax: +44 (0)1483 259 503