The first geostationary satellite, developed by Surrey Satellites in the UK, has been launched into orbit by ArianeSpace for European operator Eutelsat. The launch marks the culmination of 35 years of technology development for Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) which started in 1985 as a spin out of the University of Surrey in the UK developing small satellites. It has since seen over 70 systems into orbit
The successful launch of the Quantum satellite for Eutelsat is SSTL’s first geostationary satellite and the first with a software defined architecture so that the platform can be reconfigured during operation. Despite the name, the Quantum satellite does not supply quantum security.
SSTL's small GEO platform was designed and developed under ARTES funding from ESA, and in 2014 it was contracted to supply the platform, propulsion panels and central thrust tube for Quantum by owner Airbus Defence and Space.
SSTL was bought by Astrium, part of EADS, in 2009 but in 2014 became an independent company within the Airbus Defence and Space Group as part of the restructuring of EADS. Approximately 100 staff at SSTL worked on the Quantum project.