Tuesday, September 28, 2010

SSTL do it again. Why can't we have our own satellites?

Surrey Satellite Technology Limited the satellite geniuses from Guilford are preparing to launch a fleet of three satellites tasked with high resolution imagery of the earth. The satellites will be able to image objects at a 1 meter resolution.

The most surprising aspect of the program is the price. The entire constellation will cost just £100 million including launch costs.

SSTL were the key partner in building and operating the TOPSAT satellite for the Ministry of Defence. No doubt the new constellation borrows heavily for the technology developed for TOPSAT. The question I have is that if a small British company can finance, build and launch a constellation of spy satellites then why can't an organisation with the worlds third largest defence budget.

Frankly its embarrassing. Military operations are now completely reliant on satellite reconnaissance and we don't have a single recon satellite.

At Least the SSTL imagery is commercially available so we might be able to buy what we need rather than having to constantly beg the US for theirs.

Just to put it in to context £100 million represents less than 1days worth of MOD spending or 2 hours of UK government spending.

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