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Lot Fourteen welcomes world-leading small satellite pioneer

Posted December 14, 2022

Orbiting into South Australia, UK-based Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), part of the Airbus Group, has announced the establishment of its first office in the Southern Hemisphere right here at Lot Fourteen.

Founded in 1985, SSTL was founded by Sir Martin Sweeting, who was the original designer of the first modern ‘microsat’.

We sat down with Clive Oates who heads up the Five Eyes nations and Americas region for SSTL, and who is moving to Adelaide to set up the office here, to find out about the small satellite pioneer.

100kg class satellite: CARBONITE-2 (2017). Photo credit: SSTL

What are SSTL’s key capabilities?

SSTL is the world’s leading small satellite company, delivering operational space missions for Earth observation, communication, navigation and exploration.

Headquartered in Guildford, UK, SSTL grew out of the University of Surrey in the 1980s and designs, manufactures, and operates high performance satellites and ground systems and has built and launched 70+ satellites worldwide.

SSTL delivers academic courses and ‘hands on’ Space technology and has helped over 20 countries to develop their own Space capability.

Tell us about SSTL’s founder Sir Martin Sweeting

Sir Martin designed the first modern ‘microsat’ UoSat1 in 1981 when he was a lecturer at the University of Surrey.

Before Sir Martin’s innovative first microsat, satellites were large and very expensive and the reserve of superpowers.

Sir Martin revolutionised the satellite industry by proving that you could build low-cost, high-performance satellites for a fraction of the price normally associated with traditional Space missions. In many ways Sir Martin was one of the original technology industry disrupters!

Sir Martin remains the Executive Chairman of SSTL and is very active within the business and I frequently attend customer meetings and conferences with Sir Martin.

Sir Martin is charismatic, and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge and deep insights across a range of subjects. After a busy day attending an international conference, I have often enjoyed an evening with Sir Martin engaging in stimulating conversation.

Technology demonstrator: Dot 1

What are SSTL’s activities and ambitions in Lot Fourteen and Australia in general

Lot Fourteen is at the forefront of Space in Australia with the Australian Space Agency and a vibrant ecosystem of Space companies. SSTL is delighted to be joining a cohort of pioneering Space companies attracted to South Australia.

The new SSTL Lot Fourteen office will act as a hub to enable SSTL to bring our world-renowned expertise, technology and know-how to Australia in order to support local companies to develop their own sovereign Space capability.

We’ll service the entire country from our Adelaide base, selected for its central location, maturity and growth of the space industry in Australia.

What inspires you about your work at SSTL?

Innovation continues to be at the heart of SSTL, and the company’s vision is to take its capability in building satellites in Earth orbit to the Moon and Mars.

SSTL has recently been contracted by the European Space Agency to build ‘Lunar Pathfinder’ the first commercial communication relay satellite for Lunar orbiters, landers and rovers.

Space is the industry of the future and I’m looking forward to being part of that exciting future.

What are you looking forward to most about moving to Adelaide?

I am looking forward to embracing all that Adelaide offers: the beaches, great food and wine and living and working with a great bunch of people.

Welcome SSTL, we’re excited to see how you’ll link in with our space ecosystem at Lot Fourteen.


400kg satellite: SSTL’s NovaSAR

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