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11-285 PR SSTL redefines the cost of radar imaging with NovaSAR-S


									                                                                           Press Release
                                                            Monday 3 September 2011

SSTL redefines the cost of radar imaging with NovaSAR-S

Small satellite manufacturer Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) has today
announced completion of the development phase of its new low-cost Synthetic
Aperture Radar (SAR) satellite system. Called NovaSAR-S, the system offers
customers coverage of any spot on Earth in all conditions – seeing through cloud
cover across both day and night.

The 400-kg NovaSAR-S design combines SSTL‟s flight-proven SSTL-300 platform
with an innovative S-band SAR payload, developed in collaboration with Astrium Ltd,
who will be responsible for supplying the payloads. The challenge has been
accommodating the power and processing requirements within a small, low-cost
satellite platform. NovaSAR-S‟s 3m x 1m phased array antenna was developed by
space-borne SAR specialists at Astrium Ltd, and has now been successfully trialled
using an airborne demonstrator. The SSTL-300 platform hosting the payload is an
adaption of SSTL‟s very-high-resolution imaging NigeriaSat-2 mission, which was
launched in August.

“Based on highly efficient S-band solid state amplifier technology, NovaSAR-S has
been designed to provide detailed imaging performance for a variety of orbits,” said
Luis Gomes of SSTL. “It offers space-based radar capability to customers who might
not have considered it possible – all for the equivalent cost of a traditional low cost
optical Earth observation mission.”

NovaSAR-S acquires medium resolution radar imagery of 6-30 m ground sample
distance, depending on the viewing mode being employed. Its four viewing modes
are optimised for a wide range of applications, including flood monitoring, agricultural
crop assessment, forest monitoring, land cover classification, disaster management
and maritime applications – notably ship tracking and oil spill detection.

Radar images reveal surface textures instead of reflected light. A radar satellite
illuminates its target with a microwave beam then records the signal bouncing back.

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In addition, the satellite takes advantage of its rapid motion relative to Earth‟s surface
to build up an image with sharpened resolution equivalent to that of a much larger
„synthetic aperture‟ antenna.

Intended for equatorial or polar low-Earth orbits, NovaSAR-S offers high data
throughput of at least one million square km per day, observing in a variety of
polarisation combinations to add „colour‟ and detail to acquisitions.

The system is designed to function either independently, or as part of a constellation.
A trio of NovaSAR-S satellites could image any point on the globe every day,
regardless of local weather or time of day.

SSTL‟s unique approach to engineering and project management means it can
deliver a complete NovaSAR-S mission into orbit within 24 months. The platform has
been specifically sized to facilitate low-cost launch opportunities. SSTL can also offer
support on ground segment architecture, data processing and archiving and
knowledge transfer, based on customer needs.

About SSTL
Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) is the world's leading small satellite
company, delivering operational space missions for a range of applications including
Earth observation, science and communications. The Company designs,
manufactures and operates high performance satellites and ground systems for a
fraction of the price normally associated with space missions, with over 400 staff
working on turnkey satellite platforms, space-proven satellite subsystems and optical

Since 1981 SSTL has built and launched 36 satellites, as well as providing training
and development programmes, consultancy services and mission studies for ESA,
NASA , international governments and commercial customers, through an
innovative approach that is changing the economics of space.

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

Notes to editor:

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SSTL is this week exhibiting at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in
Cape Town. To discuss SSTL‟s new technologies with an expert visit stand 66. For
more information on the IAC 2011 congress and exhibition visit

This press release can be downloaded as a Word or Pdf document at the following

SSTL Contact:
Joelle Sykes, Surrey Satellite Technology Limited
Tel: +44 (0)1483 804243 Email:

Press Contact:
Robin Wolstenholme, bcm public relations
Tel: +44 (0)1306 882288 Email:

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