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.

Korean Advanced Institute of Science & Technology

Dimensions: 345 x 345 x 600 mm

August 1992. Ariane V52 ASAP from Korou

1320 km circular orbit, 66 deg. inclination


Carries S&F communications, DSP as well as wide and narrow angle cameras for Earth observation

Earth Imaging System (EIS)
Two charge-coupled device (CCD) imagers, two lenses, and a Transputer Image Processing Experiment. One of the imagers provides a wide field of view with approximately 4km-ground resolution. The second imager provides a telephoto facility giving approximately 400 meters ground resolution.

Digital Signal Processing Experiment (DPSE)
This broadcasts stored speech and relays compressed speech in real time.

PACSAT Communications System (PCS)
Provides store-and-forward digital communications for stations in the Amateur Satellite service.

Cosmic Ray Experiment (CRE)
This continues the radiation monitoring which was carried on the UoSAT-3 and UoSAT-5 satellites. A total dose experiment measures total ionising dose and a Cosmic Particle Experiment monitors energetic particle events. The data collected from KITSAT-1's high-altitude, inclined orbit are compared with those available in the 800-km polar orbits already monitored.

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