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Astrium acquires Surrey Satellite Technology Limited


Stevenage and Guildford. - Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has acquired Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), the innovative University of Surrey spin-out company which specialises in the design and manufacture of small satellites and subsystems. This acquisition follows approval by the European Commission in December 2008 and was announced by EADS CEO Louis Gallois today at his January briefing for the media.

* Astrium acquires world leader in small satellites Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL)
* Acquisition completed following EC approval
* SSTL will remain an independent company with its own brand identity

“This is great news that we have acquired SSTL. The UK space industry is in a strong position at present – at Astrium we have a healthy order book and we are recruiting engineers, scientists and technicians to build telecommunication, Earth observation, navigation and scientific satellites. Acquiring SSTL means we will have a substantial complement to what we can offer customers around the world – SSTL has expertise in small satellites and an innovative approach to developing new markets for space.” said Colin Paynter, CEO of Astrium in the UK.

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of SSTL, said: “This acquisition is essential for SSTL, both in enabling our future plans and maintaining the ability to expand our R&D investment in competitive new technologies. Being part of Europe’s leading space company will considerably strengthen SSTL’s market position.”

SSTL joins Astrium following a decision by the University of Surrey to sell its majority stake of 85% in the small satellite manufacturer. SSTL will remain an independent UK company with its individual brand and unique approach to space, whilst benefiting from access to greater resources to support the company’s growth. Astrium will benefit from enhanced links with the University of Surrey to support staff training and development, also leading to greater cooperation and increased research on space technology and systems.

SSTL has built its worldwide reputation in small satellites through the development of innovative technologies which have lowered the cost of operational space missions with real world applications, such as GIOVE-A, providing in-orbit validation for the Galileo programme, and the RapidEye and DMC constellations providing commercial Earth observation services. The company has recently added a small geostationary platform to their product range as well as very high resolution imaging systems for small satellite applications.

Astrium is one of the world’s leaders for its expertise in space transportation, spacecraft and satellite services including prime contractor for Ariane 5, the Columbus space laboratory and the Automated Transfer Vehicle for the International Space Station, and its leading-edge large and complex geostationary telecommunications satellites, and the Skynet 5 secure communications system for the UK Ministry of Defence. SSTL will complement Astrium’s existing space capabilities that include space transportation, satellites and services.

Under the share purchase agreement, SSTL will be owned by Astrium NV in the Netherlands.

The acquisition will enhance long-term research collaboration between the University of Surrey and Astrium and will further advance the University’s cutting edge space research capacity. The sale will support the already-strong presence that Guildford and the south-east have in the aeronautical and space industries, creating a centre of expertise for space technology. This will allow for the region to benefit from the Government’s commitment to invest in the UK space industry.


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