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Title: TopSat  
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Subject: Qinetiq, PyTEC, Defence Technology Centre, Sina-1, Boldon James
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Mission type Optical imaging
COSPAR ID 2005-043B[1]
Spacecraft properties
Manufacturer SSTL
Start of mission
Launch date 27 October 2005, 06:52:26 (2005-10-27T06:52:26Z) UTC
Rocket Kosmos-3M
Launch site Plesetsk 132/1
Orbital parameters
Reference system Geocentric
Regime Sun-synchronous
Perigee 683 kilometres (424 mi)
Apogee 707 kilometres (439 mi)
Inclination 98.18 degrees
Period 98.7 minutes

TopSat (Tactical Operational Satellite) is a British Earth observation satellite, currently in Low Earth Orbit. The nanosatellite was launched in October 2005 alongside the Beijing-1 Disaster Monitoring Constellation satellite by a Cosmos rocket from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Russia.[2]


TopSat carries out imaging with a ground resolution of 2.5 m. Much smaller and cheaper than other imaging satellites of similar high resolution, TopSat has been used to demonstrate the feasibility of providing images on demand to portable ground stations, such as that which might be deployed by the military or another disaster relief organisation.

TopSat was built in the United Kingdom by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd, QinetiQ and The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory under the British National Space Centre Mosaic programme. The engineering model of TopSat now lives in the space gallery of London's Science Museum.[3]

TopSat won the 2006 Popular Science "Best of What's New" Grand Award in the Aviation and Space category.[4]

External links

  • New era of low-cost Earth observation dawns as first images received from TopSat, QinetiQ press release, 19 December 2005.
  • Topsat project


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Transcript: Stuart Eves interviewed at the 2008 UK Space Conference
  4. ^ Popular Science "Best of What's New" Grand Award, Science and Technology to TopSat.

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