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SSTL signs €30 million satellite imager contract for climate modelling

British satellite manufacture, Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), has signed a 30M€ contract with Astrium GmbH, Germany for the supply of a Multi-Spectral Imager (MSI) for the European Space Agency’s (ESA) EarthCARE mission.

Mr Bruno Le Stradic, Director of Earth Observation and Science, Astrium Satellites and Dr Matt Perkins, SSTL’s CEO signed the contract at SSTL’s Optical Payload Group facility in Sevenoaks, Kent.

The EarthCARE mission aims to improve the understanding of the Earth’s radiation balance and to minimize uncertainties in climate change prediction models by measuring simultaneously the vertical structure and horizontal distribution of cloud and aerosol fields together with outgoing radiation over all climate zones.

The contract demonstrates SSTL’s expertise in providing high quality scientific instruments which complement its world renowned small satellite capability. The SSTL-built MSI will use new technologies developed in Europe to provide information on the horizontal structures of clouds, such as cloud type and cover, and cloud optical and microphysical properties. Operating from an orbit of around 400km, the MSI will image the Earth at 500-metres ground sample distance (GSD) over a swath width of 150km. The instrument will provide spatial context for the single-point measurements made by the radar and LIDAR systems, imaging the Earth in 7 spectral bands: one visible, one near-infrared (IR), two short-wave IR and three thermal IR.

The EarthCARE Mission is part of the Earth Observation Envelope Programme (EOEP) led by ESA, to cover primary research objectives. The EarthCARE Mission will be the third Earth Explorer Core Mission and will be implemented in collaboration with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) who will provide one of the core instruments.

SSTL is supported in the MSI programme by TNO from The Netherlands who are acting as subcontractors to SSTL.

About SSTL
Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) develops innovative technologies to change the economics of space, delivering cost effective satellite missions within rapid timescales that provide critical and valuable services to customers across the globe. The Company is a world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of high performance small satellites with experience gained over more than 25 years and 32 satellites launched.

SSTL employs almost 300 staff working on LEO, MEO, GEO and interplanetary missions, turnkey satellite platforms and space-proven satellite subsystems and optical systems. The Company also provides training and development programmes and consultancy services, and performs studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers related to platform design, mission analysis and planning.

Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by EADS Astrium NV.

About Astrium
Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116,000.

Notes to editor:
Supporting photography for this press release can be downloaded from the online press room. These can be previewed in the printable pdf version of this press release, that can be downloaded from the SSTL online press room :

SSTL Contact:
Audrey Nice, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
Tel: +44 (0)1483 804200 Email:

Press Contact:
Robin Wolstenholme, Ballard Communications Management (BCM)
Tel: +44 (0)1306 882288 Email: