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Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 6, 2005 23:24:59 GMT -6
From Ham-Radio To Galileo, Small Satellites Spell Success
Guilford, England (ESA) Nov 07, 2005
Next month should see the launch of the first Galileo satellite which will be paving the way for Europe's global positioning service. The GSTB-V2A spacecraft has been built by Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) in the UK, a company which was created in 1980. Euronews has been to visit the former university students who pioneered the use of small satellites.
"My interest in satellites started during the Apollo era in 1969," remembers Professor Martin Sweeting, today Chief Executive Officer of SSTL. "I was watching that just before I went to university." The University of Surrey in Guilford, 50 km from London, was to be the springboard for a spin-off company which now employs 250 people.
"In 1985 everybody was building bigger and bigger satellites and we were saying the contrary: smaller and smaller," recalls Sweeting. "People were saying it was an interesting but crazy idea with no future. But over the last 20 years, small satellites have offered a more flexible and economical way of getting to space. Today small satellites are a fashionable activity, and a major part of the space scene."