SSTL invests £10million in satellite test facility

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Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) is investing £10million in a 3700m2 technical facility which it says will play a 'crucial role' in its development.

The facility is opposite its headquarters building in Guildford and will enable SSTL to work on a broader range of satellites and provide the capacity to integrate and test more satellites in parallel. Housing about 40 permanent staff, it will incorporate cleanrooms, laboratories and testing facilities for state of the art space engineering. The building will also house a further 100 project specific staff from across the company at peak test and integration periods. SSTL ceo, Dr Matt Perkins, said the test facility will expand the company's capabilities: "Not only will it enable us to integrate the European GNSS payloads for ESA, but it will make it possible for us to integrate and test satellites directly opposite our headquarters improving time to market with first rate intra-company communications." As soon as it is opened, the new facility will operate at full capacity and its secure cleanroom facilities will be used for the testing and integration of 14 navigation payloads for the deployment phase of Europe's future GNSS system. The test halls will provide two 125m3 walk in thermal chambers, a seismic test platform with 16,000, 10,000 and 8000kg gantry cranes and reinforced floors, providing flexibility for integration and testing of small and larger spacecraft. Construction is already under way, and the building is on target for opening in April 2011. As part of a project worth £100m, SSTL is currently constructing three spacecraft which will be sent into orbit in 2013 to map the surface of the Earth.