British small-satellite specialist Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) will design a small satellite to test a range of British satellite payloads under a grant from the U.K. Technology Strategy Board and the South East England Development Agency valued at 770,000 British pounds ($1.22 million), SSTL announced Oct. 18.

A further grant of 2.73 million pounds is expected to follow to permit satellite construction to start.

The TechDemoSat-1 satellite is expected to carry payloads from several British universities and companies for missions including maritime surveillance and the measurement of space radiation, SSTL said. The payload designers are expected to finance the hardware development.

The satellite will be among the first initiatives undertaken with the newly formed U.K. Space Agency.

“By allowing new technologies to get into space more quickly, TechDemoSat-1 will give U.K. space businesses a competitive edge and help the sector maintain its impressive growth which has continued unabated through the current economic downturn,” David Parker, the agency’s director for science and exploration, said in an Oct. 18 statement.

SSTL said that while no payload selection has yet been made, partners are likely to include Com Dev Europe, Selex Galileo, Qinetiq, Aero Sekur, RAL Space, Oxford University, University of Surrey, Leicester University, the Mullard Space Science Laboratory, and the Langton Star Centre with a U.K. schools experiment.