Sir Martin Sweeting OBE, FRS
Born in 1951 in London and with a PhD in Electronic Engineering & Communications, Sir Martin pioneered the concept of rapid-response, low-cost and highly-capable small satellites utilising modern terrestrial COTS devices to ‘change the economics of space’. In 1985, after building and launching the UK’s first two research microsatellites at the University of Surrey, he formed a spin-off University company (SSTL - Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd) which has now designed, built, launched and operates in orbit a total of 27 nano, micro, and mini-satellites – including the international Disaster Monitoring Constellation (with Algeria, China, Nigeria, Turkey & UK) and the GIOVE-A Galileo satellite for ESA.
SSTL has also developed a highly successful satellite know-how transfer and training programme and has worked with 12 countries – particularly enabling emerging space nations achieve their first space missions and thus to access space directly to benefit their environment and economies. During the 1990s, as the capabilities of small satellites rapidly increased, they moved from being a research activity to meeting real applications for Earth observation, communications and space science. In 2004, SSTL formed a company – DMC International Imaging (DMCii) – to coordinate the DMC and to exploit the commercial applications of the DMC EO data. Working in partnership with the UK British National Space Centre and DMC Consortium members, the constellation is providing services and imagery to the International Charter: “Space and Major Disasters”. DMCii provides 24-hour emergency on call officer services and, in the event of a major disaster, tasks the global fleet of satellites made available by the world’s space agencies. Images from the DMC are used in a wide variety of commercial and government applications including agriculture, forestry and environmental mapping, and have been supplied to organisation such as the United Nations and the US Geological Survey during disasters such as the Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
By 2010, SSTL has grown to 320 commercial staff with a £300M order book and total export sales of over £234M.
SSTL was sold in 2009 to EADS for the largest single cash spin-out of a UK university company to date. Currently, SSTL has 8 satellites under construction and due for launch in 2010-11 (for Nigeria, Russia, Canada and Kazakhstan) and SSTL is manufacturing 14 payloads for the Galileo navigation payload for ESA/EC.
Sir Martin is also Director of the Surrey Space Centre, leading a team of 60 faculty and doctoral researchers investigating advanced small satellite concepts and techniques and which acts as the research laboratory for SSTL: real academic-commercial synergy.
In 1995, Sir Martin was awarded the OBE in HM Queen’s Birthday Honours and the Royal Academy of Engineering Silver Medal - both in recognition of his pioneering work in small satellites. In 1996, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and in 2000 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (the UK’s national academy) and also awarded the Royal Society’s Mullard Prize. Sir Martin was knighted by HM Queen in the 2002 British New Year Honours for services to the small satellite industry. In 2006, he was appointed a Distinguished Professor at the University of Surrey, invited to sit on the BNSC Space Advisory Council and to join the ESA Advisory Committee on Human Spaceflight Microgravity & Exploration. Most recently, he was awarded the Royal Institute of Navigation Gold Medal in recognition of the successful GIOVE-A mission for the European Galileo system and featured in the UK’s “Top Ten Great Britons” and received the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for Innovation for the Disaster Monitoring Constellation (DMC).
Personal Assistant: Anneke Holtman
Tel: +44 (0)1483 80 3909