Cornish firms secure space flight development

Posted on 19 Dec 2018 and read 721 times
Cornish firms secure space flight development A partnership of three Cornish companies has secured £148,000 of funding from the West of England Aerospace Forum (delivered by AeroSpace Cornwall) to develop ‘state of the art’ technology to enable faster and more-accurate communication with satellites.

Flann Microwave (www.flann.com), Teddington Systems (www.teddingtonsystems.co.uk) and Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd (www.goonhilly.org) will work together to create miniaturised components for the next generation of tiny communications satellites, known as nanosatellites and CubeSats.

Bristol-based Thales Alenia Space will support the project with advice on ‘end user’ acceptance and environmental aspects.

Huge demand from individuals and business for more high-speed data services is driving a revolution in satellite technology.

Traditional large satellites weighing several tonnes and orbiting 22,236 miles above the equator are set to make way for nanosatellites and CubeSats deployed in constellations just 300 miles above the Earth’s surface.

However, maximising the greater data capacity offered by these systems requires much-higher-frequency microwave switches to transmit data to ground antennas. These switches do not currently exist, which is where the new partnership comes into play.

With its precision manufacturing skills and experience in space flight hardware, Flann Microwave is well placed to lead the project. Goonhilly will offer advice on control specifications; Teddington will design and manufacture the electrical components.

James Watts, CEO of Flann Microwave, (pictured) said: “Flann has been designing and producing precision components since 1956; we first designed and manufactured a W-band switch in 1980 for ground use.

“Of course, to go into space, the new switch will need to be much smaller and lighter.”

The project is due for completion in July 2019, with a view to the switches being used in space flight from 2021.

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