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SSTL and OSS to develop in-orbit satellite demonstrator

OSS's Wrapped Rib Antenna (pictured) will be fitted onto SSTL's CarbSAR satellite. (

UK space companies – Oxford Space Systems (OSS) and Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) – have joined forces to develop a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite that is supportive of the UK ISTARI multisatellite constellation programme, CEO of OSS Sean Sutcliffe told Janes on 9 May.

An in-orbit demonstrator (IOD) of the system, which integrates OSS's deployable Wrapped Rib antenna on SSTL's CarbSAR satellite, will be launched in late 2024, he said.

The mission has received funding from the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and National Security Strategic Investment Fund (NSSIF) as well as Airbus Defence and Space. The two companies have also provided funding.

OSS's stowable Wrapped Rib antenna enables high-resolution imaging irrespective of weather conditions and is suitable for X-band SAR applications. The antenna can be stowed compactly on a satellite, only deploying once in low Earth orbit (LEO). This enables the satellite to be much smaller, allowing additional systems to be launched from the same platform while also reducing cost, Sutcliffe previously told Janes .

The antenna has successfully completed a ground-based test programme, including a radio frequency (RF) test campaign and is now ready to demonstrate its performance in-orbit.

SSTL's CarbSAR is based upon its Carbonite satellite series.

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