A contract was signed today between Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) and Mr Amanzhol Jaimurzin, General Director of JV Ghalam LLP, for the collaborative design and development of the Kazak Science and Technology satellite system. Ghalam LLP is a joint venture between JSC “National Company Kazakhstan Garysh Sapary” (KGS) and EADS Astrium.

Under the contract, SSTL and the Ghalam team will jointly develop the “SSTL-50KZ” platform using heritage SSTL platform design and payload equipment including an SSTL EarthMapper payload designed for global commercial wide-area imaging, as well as flying a number of jointly-developed equipments and payloads, a novel imaging instrument, and a new on-board computer. The new platform will be designed to provide over 50W Orbit Average Power to a 50kg payload mission and it is intended that the platform and some of the new technologies will be used on future Kazak missions. Additionally, a cubesat carrying a payload for ionospheric research will be developed by SSTL, Ghalam LLP and the Surrey Space Centre at the University of Surrey.

After the signing SSTL’s Executive Chairman Sir Martin Sweeting commented: “We are extremely pleased to have been selected to work on this collaborative mission. Innovation in the space business is extremely important and in our experience the opportunity to work with like-minded partners on space science and technology missions leads to significant benefits and success for all partners.”

As part of a collaboration between SSTL and Astrium, SSTL is currently manufacturing a medium resolution imaging satellite for the Republic of Kazakhstan which is due for launch in 2014. This spacecraft is an updated variant of the SSTL-150 platform developed for the RapidEye constellation, and includes many recent developments that improve agility and data capability. As part of this contract, 16 engineers from KGS worked at SSTL on the mission under a training and development programme.

Earlier in the year, the UK Space Agency signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kazak space agency Kazcosmos, promoting collaborative missions recognising the synergies between the capabilities and strengths in the UK and Kazak space sectors.