In last week's edition of Space News, the founder of Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd., Sir Martin Sweeting, has blessed the sale to EADS Astrium. He says he approved it after Astrium guaranteed SSTL will retain its own identity. I have enormous respect for Sir Martin, and I hope my earlier gloom-and-doom post on this subject proves unfounded.
In another interesting bit, an article translated from the Chinese news service Xinhua says the Shenzhou VII human spaceflight mission, to be launched this October, will include the release of a small satellite. According to Gu Yidong, one of the Shenzou system designers, "Apart from conducting environmental surveys in space and basic scientific experiments, the small satellite can also link-up with the space lab. It can therefore effectively extend the function of the space lab. This is tantamount to extending the premise of the space lab from several hundred meters to dozens of kilometres."
This is pretty intriguing. It implies the smallsat will be able to dock and undock, or move several hundred km away (to test communications and control, perhaps?)
Thanks to Bart Hendrix for passing this item along.