Surrey Blog

At the 2016 SmallSat Conference, It’s the Right Size That Matters

Over thirty years ago, Surrey Satellite revolutionized the satellite industry with its innovative small satellite technology, and exactly thirty years ago, we were one of the first participants in the Small Satellite Conference. Oh, what amazing growth we have seen in this remarkable event in Logan, Utah, and we congratulate Utah State University on its thirty-year anniversary! 

Over the last few days we’ve been generating lots of buzz around our new entry-level nanosatellite offering in the form of our SSTL-12 platform—displayed front and center in our exhibit in full scale. With this addition, we can proudly say that our LEO product capability now spans missions from 3 to 1,000 kilograms. 

The new SSTL-12 nanosatellite

So, what’s so special about our SSTL-12? Simply put, it offers big performance in a small package, and could very well be the right size for your mission, and at a very attractive price.

But how do you pick the right size for your mission? Will you sacrifice performance if you go too small? Will your costs go up if you go too big? How should you scale the form factor for a long-duration mission or a tech demo mission? Right-sizing your satellite could be the difference between achieving mission requirements and meeting cost objectives versus launching a platform that is low cost but fulfills few if any of your end goals.

Cubesats are the right choice for fledgling companies and universities seeking low-cost missions to accomplish a few short-term objectives; but ultimately, these missions become needy: they need more power, a longer mission life, a different orbit, and more payloads on board. All these needs are understandable but require more robust systems. The real question to ask is: why stay in the box? At Surrey Satellite, we have a mission-responsive approach that takes advantage of technological advancements in subsystems, effectively shrinking their size while enhancing performance (shocker, we know). Advancements in avionics and onboard computer and core data handling systems free up more mass for payload capacity, propulsion, and power. It doesn’t have to be a 3U, 6U, 27U, (48U!) for a mission to be low cost and high performance.

The SSTL-12 is our response to the growing demand for higher-performance cubesats without “boxing in” the platform to a cubesat form-factor. With scalable architecture and a modular avionics solution, these entry-level platform configurations offer power, mass, and payload capability exceeding those of other offerings in its class. Starting at just $500,000, Surrey specifically developed the expanded product offering to cater to customers requiring more flexibility and performance than can be readily provided by conventional cubesat solutions. The SSTL-12 is also suitable for low-cost constellations, readily addressing the mission needs of the new space markets.

In this case, the right (small) size does matter and it packs quite the performance punch! 


11 August 20160 Comments1 Comment

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