Surrey Satellite Centre is well known for building mini satellites (100 - 500kg.), microsatellites (10 - 100kg) and nanosatellites (1 - 10kg). Now there are picosatellites that weigh less than 1kg! Find out more about six of our satellites...

Not many people realize there are now over 10,000 objects orbiting our planet.

They are used for looking at the Earth, looking out into space and communicating across the globe.

Some satellites were launched on old ballistic missiles, left over from the Cold War.

Nanosatellites like SNAP-1 are only the size of a football yet they can be monitored and controlled as they orbit 700 km above the Earth.

Mission Control at Surrey Space centre deals with an average of 160 satellite passes every day, each one lasting 10 - 20 minutes.

Because the Earth wobbles as it spins, the position of a satellite will seem to draw out a figure 8 in the sky.

In October 2000 the SNAP-1 nanosatellite used its innovative "machine vision system" of four micro-miniature single-chip video cameras (each smaller than a 2 pence/50 cent piece) to take images of other satellites as it flew past. Satellites can now be robotic 'eyes-in-the-sky' to allow astronauts and ground controllers to examine the outside of their space vehicles. News of SNAP's success is spreading.

University of Surrey

60 kg. 580 x 360 x 360 kg

March 1984. Delta from Vandeneberg AFB

690 km circular low earth orbit, 98 deg. inclination


VHF Beacon

UHF Beacon

Microwave Beacons

Particle and radiation experiment

Speech Synthesiser

CCD Camera

Digital store and forward (S&F) communications

Messages from Space home | Introducing the satellites