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Royal Astronomical Society Press Release



Nice to see recognition ("innovative") for SSTL group !

G. Beat
W9GB
AMSAT-UK, AMSAT-NA
------------------------------------------------------------

Royal Astronomical Society Press Notices

Date: June 1998
For immediate release
Ref. PN 98/18

Issued by:

Dr Jacqueline Mitton
RAS Public Relations Officer
Phone: Cambridge ((0)1223) 564914
FAX: Cambridge ((0)1223) 572892
E-mail: jmitton@ast.cam.ac.uk

and

Peter Bond
Space Science Advisor
Phone: (0)1483-268672
Fax: (0)1483-274047
E-mail: 100604.1111@compuserve.com

INNOVATIVE BRITISH-MADE MICROSATELLITES SET FOR 23 JUNE LAUNCH

Two British-made microsatellites, each weighing just 50 kg, are scheduled
for launch from Baikonur Cosmodrome on 23 June. They will be among an armada
of six satellites on board a Ukrainian-Russian Zenit rocket.

Both satellites have been designed and constructed by Surrey Satellite
Technology Ltd (SSTL) at the Surrey Space Centre's purpose-built facility at
the University of Surrey in Guildford.

FASat-Bravo is an identical replacement for the FASat-Alpha which was
launched on 31 August 1995 but became stranded in space when it failed to
separate from the main Ukrainian satellite to which it was attached. It has
been constructed under a Technology Transfer Programme between the Chilean
Air Force and SSTL.

The main task of this first Chilean satellite will be to monitor the
destruction of the ozone layer above Chile. This will be done from a
sun-synchronous orbit 835 km above the Earth, so lighting conditions will be
identical during each overhead pass. The experiment will measure the amount
of solar ultraviolet light which is scattered by the upper atmosphere. The
data collected will be correlated with ground-based observations made by the
Chilean Meteorological Directorate.

The satellite will also carry a sophisticated Earth imaging system composed
of a wide angle camera providing meteorological images with a resolution of
2000 metres and a narrow angle camera with 200 metre resolution. Up to 600
images of 300 Kb each can be stored on the satellite's solid state data
recorder.

"We are delighted to work again with Chile on this exciting project," said
Professor Martin Sweeting, Director of the Surrey Space Centre and CEO of
SSTL," and are looking forward to a successful mission."

According to Lt. Col. Mario Arancibia, Chilean Air Force Project Manager,
"FASat-Bravo renews the Chilean Air Force commitment to bring the benefits
of space to all Chileans with a spacecraft that directly stimulates the
interests of the environmental, scientific and youth communities."

The second Surrey-made satellite is Thailand's first microsatellite (TMSAT).
SSTL signed a 4M pound contract for a microsatellite technology transfer and
training programme with Thailand in November 1995. TMSAT has been
constructed by Thai engineers with the aid of SSTL and will operate from low
Earth orbit carrying a number of experimental payloads. These include a
digital signal processing system to investigate ways of enhancing satellite
communications, in addition to wide and narrow angle cameras capable of
taking 100 metre resolution, multi-spectral images of the Earth's surface.

Notes

SSTL was formed in 1985 as a company wholly owned by the University of
Surrey, Guildford, UK. With 140 staff and postgraduate research students,
the Centre houses state-of-the-art satellite research and construction
facilities. The company has pioneered inexpensive yet powerful
microsatellites -- the size of a TV set and weighing just 50 kg. Its
customers have come from Chile, France, Portugal, Korea, Pakistan, South
Africa, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, USA and UK.

Having already designed and built 12 satellites -- an average of two each
year since 1990 -- SSTL has become a world leader in small satellite
engineering. The aim of the company is:

   * to research cost-effective small satellite techniques
   * to demonstrate the capabilities of micro/minisatellites
   * to catalyse commercial use of micro/minisatellites
   * to promote space education and training

Contact

     Audrey Nice, Public Relations Officer or James Keravala, Space Market
     Development, Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford,
     Surrey GU2 5XH, UK
     Tel (+44) (0)1483 259278, Fax (+44) (0)1483 259503
     E-mail: j.keravala@ee.surrey.ac.uk

     Further information on SSTL is available on the Web at:
     http://www.ee.surrey.ac.uk/EE/CSER/UOSAT


---
Andrew Yee
ayee@nova.astro.utoronto.ca






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