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Sstl sale represents most successful spin-off for British University

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Press Release

Guildford – 13 January 2009:

SSTL sale represents most successful spin-off for

British University

  • Astrium backing to support Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) expansion and development

  • University of Surrey and Astrium agree new UK strategic academic collaboration

Stevenage and Guildford 13 Jan 2009: EADS Astrium, Europe’s leading space company, has purchased Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) from the University of Surrey. This landmark deal provides the financial and industrial resources required for SSTL’s expansion and future development.

Professor Sir Martin Sweeting, Executive Chairman of SSTL, has been an active ambassador for the UK space industry for many years and considers the acquisition as essential: “SSTL operates in a highly competitive global market. If we are to continue changing the economics of space and provide the innovation solutions our customers demand, we must expand and maintain our R&D investment.”
Professor Christopher Snowden, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Surrey commented: “This is a great move for both the University and SSTL. I believe this deal represents one of the largest cash spin-outs from any UK university. It will also allow the company to realise its full potential as a rapidly growing and leading supplier of satellites, whilst the University retains the benefit of close interaction with SSTL and its new partner EADS Astrium. By retaining a small stake in SSTL the University shows its commitment to both the future of the company and space research itself.”
SSTL is joining EADS Astrium following a decision by the University of Surrey to sell its majority stake in the small satellite manufacturer. SSTL will remain a separate UK legal entity and brand in its own right following the agreement while benefiting from access to the resources of a large corporation including design, manufacturing and test facilities. EADS 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.

The agreement sees a long-term strategic collaboration between the University of Surrey and EADS 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 of England 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.

About SSTL

SSTL develops innovative technologies to change the economics of space, delivering cost effective satellite missions within rapid timescales. The company is a world leader in the design, manufacture and operation of high performance small satellites with experience gained over more than 25 years and 32 satellites launched.

SSTL employs 300 staff working on LEO, MEO, GEO and interplanetary missions, turnkey satellite platforms and space-proven satellite subsystems and optical systems. The company also provides training and development programmes and consultancy services, and performs studies for ESA, NASA and commercial customers related to platform design, mission analysis and planning.
Based in Guildford, UK, SSTL is owned by EADS Astrium NV.
About Astrium

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2007, Astrium had a turnover of €3.5 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services. In the UK, Astrium employs more than 3,000 space engineers, scientists and technicians.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2007, EADS generated revenues of €39.1 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116,000.
About the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s leading professional, scientific and technological universities with a world class research profile and a reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Ground-breaking research at the University is bringing direct benefit to all spheres of life – helping industry to maintain its competitive edge and creating improvements in the areas of health, medicine, space science, the environment, communications, defence and social policy. Programmes in science and technology have gained widespread recognition and it also boasts flourishing programmes in dance and music, social sciences, management and languages and law. In addition to the campus on 150 hectares just outside Guildford, Surrey, the University also owns and runs the Surrey Research Park, which provides facilities for 140 companies employing 2,700 staff.

The Sunday Times names Surrey as ‘The University for Jobs' which underlines the university’s growing reputation for providing high quality, relevant degrees.
SSTL Media Contacts:

Robin Wolstenholme Phone: +44 (0) 1 30 688 22 88

Stephen Ballard Phone: +44 (0) 1 30 688 22 88
University of Surrey Media Contacts:

Madeleine McGowan Phone: +44 (0) 1483 689314

Peter La Phone: +44 (0) 1483 689191

EADS Astrium Media Contacts:

Jeremy Close (Astrium UK) Phone: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

Matthieu Duvelleroy (Astrium FR) Phone: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 32

Mathias Pikelj (Astrium GER) Phone: + 49 (0) 7545 89123

Francisco Lechón (Astrium SP) Phone: + 34 91 586 37 41

Notes to editor:

This press release can be downloaded from the SSTL online press room :

A podcast in which Sir Martin Sweeting discusses the sale is available to play online at: For broadcast quality audio please contact Stephen Ballard.

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