Sir Martin Sweeting

Sir Martin Sweeting is renowned worldwide as a pioneer of modern small satellites – a concept which has fundamentally changed the economics of space industry.

He is the founder and executive chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd.

Life timeline

  • 1979

    Sir Martin Sweeting started to design and build UoSAT-1.

  • 1981

    UoSAT-1 was launched from the ground station on the Surrey campus and its transmissions were monitored by thousands of radio amateurs and schools worldwide.

  • 1984

    Following the launched of UoSAT-2, he formed a young and dynamic research group that developed more sophisticated and capable satellite subsystems and payloads.

  • 1985

    Surrey Satellite Technology was formed to exploit the commercial potential of Surrey’s novel small satellites – initially with 4 employees and a capital of just £100.

  • 1996

    Awarded an OBE.

  • 2000

    Awarded the Mullard Award by the Royal Society and elected fellow.

  • 2002

    Knighted for recognition of his pioneering work on cost-effective spacecraft engineering.

  • 2006

    Received the Times Higher Education Supplement Award for Innovation for the Disaster Monitoring Constellation.

  • 2008

    Awarded the Royal Institute of Navigation Gold Medal in recognition of the successful GIOVE-A mission for the European Galileo system, awarded the Sir Arthur Clarke Lifetime Achievement Award and named as one of the ‘Top Ten Great Britons”.

  • 2010

    Awarded the Faraday Medal by the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and an Elektra Lifetime Achievement Award by the European Electronics Industry.

  • 2012

    In March, he was made an honorary fellow of the Institution of Engineering Design – presented by HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

  • 2014

    Received the prestigious von Karman Wings Award from CalTech/JPL and Chinese Academy of Sciences/COSPAR Jeoujang Jaw Award recognising his contribution to international space development.

  • 2016

    Made an honorary fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and identified by The Sunday Times as one of the UK's 20 most influential engineers.

    SSTL build 8 new satellites including a low-cost medium-resolution radar minisatellite (NovaSAR), supported by the UK government and planned for launch in December.

Thanks to Sir Martin's leadership and entrepreneurial spirit, SSTL have pioneered the development of small, affordable satellites for a huge range of applications giving the UK a leading position in this arena. Martin Broadhurst OBE, Former President of the Royal Aeronautical Society

Professor Alf Adams

Upcoming lectures