GUILDFORD, England, 14 Aug. 2007. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL) in Guildford, England, won a study contract for a potential joint United States-United Kingdom lunar orbiter mission to be called Magnolia.
This first phase of the contract will run for nine months, culminating in a preliminary mission design. The next phase of the Magnolia mission is planned to start in 2008 and could lead to the launch of the mission in 2010.
The contract includes a package of training by SSTL and the University of Surrey in Guildford, England, that will benefit experts at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Miss., and NASA Stennis Space Center, Miss.
In 2006, SSTL performed a lunar exploration design study for the United Kingdom government's Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council. The study was supported by a group of United Kingdom scientists and showed the feasibility of a pair of low cost missions known as MoonLITE and MoonRaker.
SSTL has already developed equipment for interplanetary missions such as the Rosetta comet chaser and recently delivered a payload processor for a U.S. radar to fly onboard the 2008 Indian lunar mission, Chandrayaan-1.
Looking further into space, SSTL has performed a European Space Agency feasibility study for a low cost mission to Venus and has studied potential missions to near-Earth asteroids and Earth re-entry for the future return of samples from Mars. Magnolia marks SSTL's next step beyond low Earth Orbit.
For more information contact SSTL online at www.sstl.co.uk.