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SSTL, OSS Work Together on Smallsat SAR Payload

By | April 2, 2019

SSTL’s future technology demonstration mission flying the new OSS deployable SAR antenna. Photo: SSTL

Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) and Oxford Space Systems (OSS) have been awarded National Space Technology Program funding to develop a stowage-efficient Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) payload. This new technology aims to deliver a disruptive solution and be a key enabler for the next-generation of SAR services from orbit where there are currently no low volume, deployable SAR payload solutions that meet the price points and lead times of the NewSpace opportunities.

OSS’ expertise in deployable antennas combined with SSTL’s experience with small satellites aims to address this global market opportunity. The SAR payload will be exclusively developed in the U.K. and will comprise of a stowage-efficient deployable antenna from OSS and a high bandwidth radar instrument and Radio Frequency (RF) system from SSTL. Successful completion of the project will enable the OSS antenna to be flown on a future demonstration mission from SSTL targeted for a 2021 launch.

“This collaboration under U.K. Space Agency’s NSTP Flagship funding allows us to focus on maturing a variant of our ‘wrapped rib’ antenna toward on-orbit demonstration,” Oxford Space Systems Senior Commercial Strategist Shefali Sharma said. “We view this novel SAR payload as a key enabler for the next-generation of communications and SAR services from orbit. The antenna is highly scalable and tunable and has been specifically designed for volume production, targeting smallsat constellations. As such, it’s suitable for a range of commercial opportunities not only here in the U.K., but globally too.”