Sir Martin Sweeting

Sir Martin Sweeting is the founder and executive chairman of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), the world’s first small satellite technology firm. It is a corporate spin-off from the University of Surrey, where Sweeting is a Distinguished Professor who founded and chairs the Surrey Space Centre.

With a team, Sweeting designed and built the UoSAT-1, the first modern 70kg ‘microsatellite’, which he convinced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to launch, as a secondary piggyback payload into Low Earth orbit alongside a larger primary payload. UoSAT-1 was controlled in orbit after launch in from the groundstation on Surrey campus using amateur radio bands. Sweeting saw the potential in microsatellites and eventually launched SSTL in 1985 with 4 employees and a capital of £100 to develop it further.

SSTL has since grown and now has a staff count of 500. In 2010 and 2012, SSTL was awarded contracts to supply 22 navigation payloads for Europe’s Galileo space navigation system and in 2017 was awarded a contract to supply a further 12 payloads.

In 2000, Sweeting was awarded the Mullard Award by the Royal Society and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the same year. In recognition of his contributions to the field of spacecraft design, Martin received an OBE in 1996 and was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours in 2002. He has also received the Faraday Medal of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, the CalTech-JPL von Karman Wings Award, and the COSPAR-Chinese Academy of Sciences Jeoujang Jaw Award for international space development.