Thursday, 30 November 2023

The Surrey Satellite Company: Pioneers in Small Satellite Technology

22 Mar 2023

In the world of satellite technology, the name Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) stands out as a pioneering company that has been pushing the boundaries of what’s possible since 1985. Headquartered in Guildford, Surrey, England, SSTL has been at the forefront of developing small satellite technology, making space accessible to more organizations and countries than ever before.

In this article, we will explore the history of SSTL, their contributions to small satellite technology, and their impact on the space industry.

History of Surrey Satellite Technology Limited

SSTL was founded in 1985 as a spin-off company from the University of Surrey’s Space Centre. Their mission was to develop and commercialize small satellite technology, which at the time was still in its infancy. Over the years, SSTL has grown from a small startup to one of the world’s leading manufacturers of small satellites.

SSTL’s Contributions to Small Satellite Technology

SSTL’s breakthrough came in the 1990s when they introduced the microsatellite, a smaller and more affordable satellite than what was previously available. Microsatellites have become a game-changer for the space industry, as they are much cheaper to manufacture, launch and operate. They have also enabled smaller organizations and countries to gain access to space, which was previously reserved for larger, more well-funded organizations.

One of SSTL’s most significant contributions to the space industry is their work on Earth Observation (EO) satellites. EO satellites are used to observe and monitor the Earth’s surface, oceans, and atmosphere. This information is crucial for climate research, disaster relief, and military operations. SSTL’s EO satellites are equipped with advanced sensors that can capture high-resolution images of the Earth, providing valuable data for scientists and organizations around the world.

In addition to EO satellites, SSTL has also developed navigation, telecommunications, and scientific research satellites. Their work has been instrumental in advancing space exploration and research, making it accessible to more organizations and countries than ever before.

SSTL’s Impact on the Space Industry

SSTL has had a profound impact on the space industry, from enabling smaller organizations and countries to access space to advancing scientific research and exploration. SSTL’s small satellite technology has made space accessible to more people than ever before, and their contributions to Earth Observation have helped scientists better understand our planet and its changing climate.

SSTL has also been a driving force behind the democratization of space, helping to break down the barriers that have traditionally kept space exploration and research in the hands of a few large organizations. Their work has enabled universities, startups, and developing countries to access space, fostering innovation and driving progress in the space industry.


SSTL has been a pioneering company in the field of small satellite technology, enabling more organizations and countries to access space than ever before. Their contributions to Earth Observation and other areas of space research have advanced scientific knowledge and improved our understanding of the world around us. SSTL’s work has had a profound impact on the space industry, democratizing access to space and driving innovation and progress.

In conclusion, the Surrey Satellite Technology Limited’s contributions to small satellite technology cannot be overstated. As the world continues to look to space for answers to some of our most pressing challenges, SSTL will undoubtedly continue to be at the forefront of innovation and progress.