Press Release

UK Space Command Contracts with SSTL for Carbonite+ Satellite

UK Space Command Contracts with SSTL for Carbonite+ Satellite

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed a £22m contract with Defence Equipment and Support on behalf of UK Space Command for a 150kg satellite based on SSTL’s Carbonite+. Project TYCHE is the first satellite procurement for the MINERVA programme which is a key enabler in the development of the foundation for a UK Space-based Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) constellation under programme ISTARI. Delivered under a three year build programme, the TYCHE mission will be compatible with both horizontal as well as vertical launch. TYCHE will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford. 

Phil Brownnett, SSTL’s Managing Director, said “We are delighted that Space Command has signed with SSTL for a Carbonite+ satellite, and we are looking forward to working together on this pivotal mission for the UK. We have established an excellent relationship with Space Command and by working closely together we have evolved and enhanced our Carbonite+ spacecraft design for the Project TYCHE Programme.”

Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said “The MINERVA programme provides the route to use space to be fully interoperable and able to share data with our close allies. This is the crucial first step in delivering this capability and I’m delighted that we’re working together with UK companies to remain at the forefront of innovation in space.”

The key outcome of project TYCHE will be a robust understanding and analysis of the integration activities, test environments and interfaces required to establish and maintain UK MOD rights to freely operate a space based Intelligence Surveillance and Recognisance (ISR) capability. The project also aims to understand security requirements, risks and identify further activities which may be required to mature the ISTARI ISR capability.

The Project TYCHE contract provides sustained employment at SSTL, with up to 100 employees directly contributing to the successful project delivery, together with increased opportunities for UK start-ups, SMEs, and VSCE’s to become involved with an annual growth target of 5%.   

Notes to editor: 

Full size accompanying images for this press release can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. 

Press Contacts:

MOD Press Office on 0207 218 7907  

Joelle Sykes, PR Manager, SSTL
Tel: +44 (0)1483 804243
Mob: 07775 000853

Twitter @SurreySat

About SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is at the forefront of space innovation delivering customisable complete mission solutions for Earth observation, science, communications, navigation, in-orbit debris removal and servicing and exploration beyond Earth infrastructure.

Since 1981, SSTL has built and launched 71 satellites for 20 international customers, as well as providing training and development programmes, consultancy services, and mission studies for ESA, NASA, international governments and commercial customers.

SSTL is well known for innovative missions such as the CARBONITE satellites, the NovaSAR S-band radar imaging satellite and the RemoveDEBRIS space debris removal technology demonstrator. 

Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL is part of Airbus.


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Artist’s impression of the Carbonite+ satellite. Credit SSTL.

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Notional Future UK ISR Constellation. Credit Space Command.

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