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  • Satellite Evolution

UK Space Command contracts with SSTL for £22 million 150kg Carbonite+ Satellite

Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) has signed an £22 million contract with Defence Equipment and Support on behalf of Space Command for Carbonite+, a 150kg spacecraft. Project TYCHE is the first satellite procurement for the MINERVA programme which is a key enabler in the development of the foundation for a UK Space-based Intelligence Surveillance & Reconnaissance (ISR) constellation under programme ISTARI. Delivered under a three year build programme, the Carbonite+ mission will be compatible with both horizontal as well as vertical launch. Carbonite+ will be operated from SSTL’s Spacecraft Operations Centre in Guildford.

Phil Brownnett, SSTL’s Managing Director, said “We are delighted that Space Command has signed with SSTL for Carbonite+, and we are looking forward to working together on this pivotal mission for the UK. We have established an excellent relationship with Space Command and by working closely together we have evolved and enhanced our Carbonite+ spacecraft design for the Project TYCHE Programme.”


Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The MINERVA programme provides the route to use space to be fully interoperable and able to share data with our close allies. “This is the crucial first step in delivering this capability and I’m delighted that we’re working together with UK companies to remain at the forefront of innovation in space.”


The key outcome of project TYCHE will be a robust understanding and analysis of the integration activities, test environments and interfaces required to establish and maintain UK MOD rights to freely operate a space based Intelligence Surveillance and Recognisance (ISR) capability. The project also aims to understand security requirements, risks and identify further activities which may be required to mature the ISTARI ISR capability.


The Project TYCHE contract provides sustained employment at SSTL, with up to 100 employees directly contributing to the successful project delivery, together with increased opportunities for UK start-ups, SMEs, and VSCE’s to become involved with an annual growth target of 5%.

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