First mission for SSTL’s new X50 platform will be for Kazakh customer

SSTL-X50 Earthmapper14 January 2014 – Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and Ghalam LLP (Kazakhstan) have agreed that SSTL’s new X50 platform design will deliver KazSTSAT, a small satellite mission announced under a contract signed last year.

KazSTSAT will be based on the SSTL-X50 Earthmapper variant and will carry an SSTL SLIM-6 imager, providing 22m resolution multispectral imagery with a swath width of more than 600km for global wide-area imaging. The new SSTL-X50 Earthmapper variant combines a large volume of data storage, enhanced power generation capacity and high downlink availability to continuously image the sunlit land mass making it particularly suited to applications requiring a high temporal revisit rate, such as agricultural and flood monitoring, water quality assessment, forest monitoring and disaster management.

Luis Gomes, SSTL’s Director of Earth Observation and Science, commented: “It is very gratifying that less than 3 months after the public introduction of the X50 Earthmapper, one of our longstanding customers has decided to base its new satellite on this platform. It demonstrates the appeal of our new family of advanced platforms which have been designed using our unrivalled experience and the know-how unique to SSTL, combined with cutting-edge technology, manufacturing and testing processes.”

Under a joint development programme 14 Kazakh engineers will work alongside SSTL engineers to design and build the KazSTSAT spacecraft. In addition to the SLIM-6 imager, KazSTSAT will fly a number of Ghalam LLP developed payloads, and will join the Disaster Monitoring Constellation, which provides daily images for applications including global disaster monitoring. Environmental testing will take place at a new Ghalam LLP test facility being established in Astana, Kazakhstan.

SSTL has developed the new X50 satellite platform to provide a smaller, lighter, flexible spacecraft with enhanced systems capabilities and quality. With a mass of 50kg, the compact, highly integrated design baselines flight-proven heritage with next-generation avionics to incorporate fully dual redundant subsystems and scaled core platform services such as power, structure, data processing, communications and high-precision attitude control.

The new platform design allows SSTL to take advantage of automated batch avionics manufacturing and test processes, and aids rapid assembly and integration of the spacecraft, bringing customers the benefit of shorter order to orbit timescales and reduced fixed-price costs.