28 May 2015 – Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) welcomed Michael Boyd, Managing Director of Investment, UK Trade and Investment, and Peter Martin, Deputy Leader of Surrey County Council, to the Company’s Guildford Headquarters site on 27 May 2015. SSTL’s Group Managing Director, Patrick Wood, hosted the visit which included a tour of The Kepler Building where SSTL is currently assembling more than 20 spacecraft.
The visit coincided with the completion of SSTL’s new Spacecraft Operations Centre (SOC) and Michael Boyd was given the honour of cutting the ribbon on the new facility.
SSTL’s MD, Patrick Wood, commented “I am delighted to host both Michael Boyd and Peter Martin for a tour of SSTL’s facilities and, in particular, to showcase our new Spacecraft Operations Centre, which is going to be the focus of intense activity later this summer when we launch a further 4 satellites into orbit.”
SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre is the control hub containing the infrastructure necessary to track, command, control and downlink data from SSTL’s orbiting satellites, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The new SOC offers a larger and significantly enhanced work environment for the operators as well a more efficient layout to better support SSTL’s space missions. The SOC is also used to support several of SSTL customers’ spacecraft operations, either by acting as a secondary SOC or as backup to their own SOCs when they carry out essential maintenance or upgrades.
SSTL’s SOC is connected primarily to the two ground stations operated by SSTL in the UK, but it is also designed to be able to securely communicate with the satellites through a number of ground stations located around the world. It is designed to operate in a highly efficient “lights-out” mode requiring minimal operator intervention by using automated computer-controlled routines to manage the exchange of data between the ground stations and the satellites, and to autonomously monitor the health of the satellites.
The SOC will become the focus of intense activity later this summer when another 4 SSTL satellites are due to be launched and the Operations team in Guildford will be manning the computer terminals to undertake the first phase of commissioning the satellites in-orbit – firstly establishing contact and then conducting a series of tests and operations designed to check that all the spacecraft’s systems are working correctly.
Surrey County Council Deputy Leader Peter Martin said: “The facilities are really are out of this world and I have no doubt they will be the nerve centre for many successful missions. Our role is to help SSTL and all Surrey’s other businesses succeed, whether that’s here in Surrey, globally or indeed in space, and do what they do best – create jobs and promote growth.”