Naming a product is a lot like naming your child. You want it to be perfect and unique, reflecting the right balance of character with some aspirational greatness, yet not so exotic as to cause unnecessary difficulties as the child begins to establish a reputation. Naming a product is also a lot like naming your pet; although here, you can use more creativity without contending with the consequences imposed by societal norms. You can explore nomenclature ranging from candy bars to historical figures to cartoons and sometimes just cool-sounding names usually reserved for military aircraft (my neighbor has a German Shepherd named SkyHawk!)
Our Rebranding Project
We at Surrey Satellite Technology US recently embarked upon rebranding our U.S. satellite platform products
, which included renaming the products. Our goal for the rebranding was to more clearly communicate the platforms’ benefits and features to our customers, while also keeping the brands simple and true to our 49 missions' worth of heritage. Our rebranding idea was to be “a bird of another feather.”
Out with the Old
Before we talk about our new names, let’s review what we were working with. We were offering the SSTL-12, SSTL-50, SSTL-100, SSTL-150, SSTL-300, SSTL-600, GMP-A, GMP-E, GMP-T. (The numerals in the names roughly corresponded to satellite mass). We offered practically unlimited versions of each to address a wide range of mission requirements and payload technologies, which easily led to confusion over the baseline platform best suited for a particular payload—our customers rarely ended up with the exact platform as described in our brochures. This was, in fact, a testament to our problem solving capabilities and innovation.
We enjoy the flexibility of accommodating a variety of differing payloads and producing platforms that are “adaptable.” We might find ways to optimize mass properties, meet specific power requirements (hello, SAR!), or get creative with finding common ground for multiple hosted payloads. This approach to satellite manufacturing spans over three decades of experience and 49 successful missions, but we wanted a simpler and better way to represent our U.S. platform products.
Okay, now that you’ve read the fine print, let’s figure out how this new branding thing is going to take flight!
The basic gist is we are discarding our various “SSTL-“ and “GMP-” U.S. monikers and replacing them with two product names: the “Swift” and the “Condor.” Having just the two names effectively removes the confusion over picking a baseline defined by satellite mass. But we didn’t just pluck these names out of thin air. Here’s why we chose them…
Birds of Another Feather
The swift is a powerful and highly aerial bird, and one of the fastest birds on the planet, despite its relatively small size. We like to think of our baseline heritage small satellite platform in these terms, and so we have dubbed it the “Swift.” The Surrey Swift
is a small, agile platform—able to accommodate a wide variety of payloads and typically suited to a wide variety of missions in low-Earth orbit.
We also have a baby Swift, known as the Swift Nano that addresses the cubesat and nanosatellite markets—yes, we make those too!
The condor is a very large, soaring bird with broad wings. It has a tough hide, inhabits large territories, and has a long lifespan. When we looked for a name for our robust, radiation-hardened satellite platform, we couldn’t think of anything more appropriate than “Condor.” The Surrey Condor
is our larger, more robust platform best suited for missions in the higher orbits of medium-Earth orbit, geostationary orbit, and beyond. Designed to operate in harsh environments, the Condor has added shielding, radiation-hardened avionics, more power, and greater propulsion capability. The condor is a tough bird that can withstand extreme environments, except our Condor won’t eat you alive (not even in price!).
Same Platforms, Same Heritage, New Names
Swift and Condor are not new
platforms, but the same
platforms that have historically worn the SSTL and GMP prefixes. Our “birds of a new feather” now clearly reflect Surrey’s common and well-proven design and build philosophies and encompass a host of heritage capabilities.
The key takeaway for our friends in the industry that require heritage systems with high reliability and flight qualification is that our Swift platform is based on a common core of avionics, and has extensive flight heritage and a high degree of modularity and flexibility for a full range of mission solutions.
So next time you reach out to Surrey Satellite US about a satellite mission, please think about Swift and Condor
, and how together, we can soar (or launch) to new heights!