Encyclopedia Astronautica

SSTL Minisatellite
Credit: NASA
British technology satellite. 2 launches, 1999.04.21 (UoSAT-12) to 2005.12.28 (Giove-A). Basic Surrey Minisat bus.

SSTL's MiniSat-400 platform was a high-capability platform for missions up to 400 kg total mass, with payloads up to 200 kg. SSTL developed this larger platform in response to customers requesting a cost-effective solution for payloads with more demanding mass, volume, power, data-handling and attitude/orbit control requirements.

The MiniSat-400 platform structure was based in part on proven mechanical modules from the MicroSat-70, with three module stacks mounted in a triangular configuration at the heart of the structure. These stacks supported a payload platform providing a large volume for internal payloads, with the possibility of apertures through the side or the top facet of the satellite. The top facet provided a mounting area for external payloads, sensors and antennas. Similarly, the bottom facet had space available for external units and the launcher attach fitting.

Customers could draw upon SSTL's full range of avionics units to configure the MniSat-400 platform. SSTL offered several options for three-axis attitude control, using momentum wheels, reaction wheels or cold-gas thrusters. Key attitude sensors could be selected from a range of proven Earth, Sun, star and magnetic sensors.

The on-board data handling system featured triple redundant internal telemetry and command networks (CAN), parallel on-board computers, Ethernet for high-speed internal communications and either S or X-band downlinks.

Propulsion options included Nitrogen or Xenon cold-gas, resisto-jets and hydrazine based systems, which could be configured for station acquisition, formation flying and end-of-life de-orbiting.

In 1999, SSTL demonstrated the MiniSat-400 bus in orbit on the UoSAT-12 R&D mission. The bus was listed in the NASA Rapid Spacecraft Development Office catalogue for extremely fast procurement by U.S. government agencies.

AKA: SSTL 400.
Gross mass: 400 kg (880 lb).
Payload: 200 kg (440 lb).
First Launch: 1999.04.21.
Last Launch: 2005.12.28.
Number: 2 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • R-36M The super-heavy Ukrainian R-36M ICBM replaced the R-36 in 288 existing silos and was additionally installed in 20 new super-hardened silos. The fall of the Soviet Union ended production and the need for replacement. Nevertheless they remained in Russian service into the 21st Century, some being modified for use as space launchers. More...
  • Soyuz The Russian Soyuz spacecraft has been the longest-lived, most adaptable, and most successful manned spacecraft design. In production for fifty years, more than 240 have been built and flown on a wide range of missions. The design will remain in use with the international space station well into the 21st century, providing the only manned access to the station after the retirement of the shuttle in 2011. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Soyuz Russian orbital launch vehicle. The world's first ICBM became the most often used and most reliable launch vehicle in history. The original core+four strap-on booster missile had a small third stage added to produce the Vostok launch vehicle, with a payload of 5 metric tons. Addition of a larger third stage produced the Voskhod/Soyuz vehicle, with a payload over 6 metric tons. Using this with a fourth stage, the resulting Molniya booster placed communications satellites and early lunar and planetary probes in higher energy trajectories. By the year 2000 over 1,628 had been launched with an unmatched success rate of 97.5% for production models. Improved models providing commercial launch services for international customers entered service in the new millenium, and a new launch pad at Kourou was to be inaugurated in 2009. It appeared that the R-7 could easily still be in service 70 years after its first launch. More...
  • R-36M Ukrainian intercontinental ballistic missile. The R-36M replaced the R-36 in 288 existing silos and was additionally installed in 20 new super-hardened silos. More...
  • Dnepr Ukrainian orbital launch vehicle based on decommissioned R-36M2 intercontinental ballistic missiles. More...
  • Soyuz FG Uprated Soyuz booster designed for high performance Russian government missions and delivery of Soyuz and Progress spacecraft to the International Space Station. Upgraded engines, modern avionics, reduced non-Russian content. Unknown differences to Soyuz ST. More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • Surrey British manufacturer of spacecraft. Surrey Satellite Technologies Ltd. , Guildford, UK More...

  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Baikonur Russia's largest cosmodrome, the only one used for manned launches and with facilities for the larger Proton, N1, and Energia launch vehicles. The spaceport ended up on foreign soil after the break-up of Soviet Union. The official designations NIIP-5 and GIK-5 are used in official Soviet histories. It was also universally referred to as Tyuratam by both Soviet military staff and engineers, and the US intelligence agencies. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Russian Federation has insisted on continued use of the old Soviet 'public' name of Baikonur. In its Kazakh (Kazak) version this is rendered Baykonur. More...

MiniSat-400 Chronology

1999 April 21 - . 04:59 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC109. Launch Pad: LC109/95. LV Family: R-36M. Launch Vehicle: Dnepr. LV Configuration: Dnepr 6703542509.
  • UoSAT-12 - . Mass: 325 kg (716 lb). Nation: UK. Agency: Surrey. Manufacturer: Surrey. Class: Technology. Type: Navigation technology satellite. Spacecraft: MiniSat-400. USAF Sat Cat: 25693 . COSPAR: 1999-021A. Apogee: 654 km (406 mi). Perigee: 639 km (397 mi). Inclination: 64.6000 deg. Period: 97.70 min. First launch of Russia's Dnepr launch vehicle, a converted R-36M2 ICBM. The Dnepr was launched from a silo. The third stage maneuvring bus (used on the ICBM for dispensing multiple warheads) placed UoSAT-12 into a 638 km x 652 km x 64.6 deg orbit. The third stage separated from the payload at 05:13 GMT and then made a burn into a 599 km x 1403 km x 64.6 deg orbit. UoSAT-12 was the first test of the Minibus platform, at 325 kg a larger spacecraft than earlier 50 kg Surrey UoSATs. It carried a mobile radio experiment (MERLION), a GPS receiver, and imaging cameras.

2005 December 28 - . 05:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Baikonur. Launch Complex: Baikonur LC31. LV Family: R-7. Launch Vehicle: Soyuz FG. LV Configuration: Soyuz-FG/Fregat Zh15000-015.
  • Giove-A - . Payload: GSTB-V2/A / Heavily modified Surrey MiniSat-400. Mass: 600 kg (1,320 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA. Manufacturer: Surrey. Class: Navigation. Type: Navigation satellite. Spacecraft: MiniSat-400. USAF Sat Cat: 28922 . COSPAR: 2005-051A. Apogee: 23,360 km (14,510 mi). Perigee: 23,314 km (14,486 mi). Inclination: 56.2000 deg. Period: 849.60 min. Summary: Delayed from September, October, December 26. Galileo In-Orbit Validation Element, a prototype for the Galileo European navigation satellite network. Giove carried carried two rubidium atomic clocks and a large L-band phased array antenna..

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