Work on Kazakh Satellite Getting Under Way at Surrey

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BREMEN, Germany — Small satellite specialist Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) will build a small Earth observation satellite for the Kazakh government for in-orbit delivery in 2013 as part of a broader contract between Kazakhstan and SSTL’s owner, Astrium, to develop the nation’s Earth observation capabilities, SSTL announced July 20.

Guildford, England-based SSTL will produce an enhanced version of its SSTL-150 satellite platform for a satellite with a launch weight of less than 200 kilograms, a ground resolution of 6.5 meters and a swath width of 77 kilometers. The satellite will be capable of swiveling its optical imager up to 38 degrees off nadir. It will be placed into a 630-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit aboard a vehicle that SSTL has yet to select.

Astrium Satellites in mid-2009 announced a broad cooperation agreement with the Kazakh government that includes two Earth observation satellites, training of Kazakh engineers, a satellite integration center and access to the French Spot optical and German TerraSAR-X radar satellite data.

Astrium Satellites will provide a high-resolution satellite, with SSTL responsible for a spacecraft that for now is called the Medium Resolution Earth Observation Satellite, or MRES.

SSTL Chief Executive Matt Perkins said the Kazakh contract “illustrates the benefit of SSTL being part of the EADS Astrium group. The solutions that the group now offers draw upon the heritage of both companies to provide real benefits to our customers.”

Astrium purchased SSTL in 2008. It promised to permit the company, which has built several dozen small satellites for commercial and government Earth observation and research programs, to continue to operate independently of Astrium, which also produces a line of small Earth observation satellites and in the past has competed with SSTL