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The telemetry, tracking and control (TT&C) subsystem is at the heart of a satellite, allowing communication between ground control and space systems. With the support of ESA, the Norwegian company Kongsberg Norspace has established itself as a highly successful supplier of these key components to the global satellite industry. Since 2006, more than forty TT&C units have been sold, giving Kongsberg Norspace a 10% share in this highly competitive market.
In a follow-up ARTES 3-4 activity, Kongsberg Norspace is developing a new-generation version of the original TT&C command receiver, for which the company has just received its first commercial order. Airbus Defence and Space will incorporate two of the units into the SES-10 satellite, scheduled for launch in 2016.
An important innovation of the new command receiver is “frequency agility”, its ability to switch among a wide range of frequencies while in orbit. This offers satellite manufacturers and operators important flexibility such as allowing design and manufacturing of more “generic” satellites, and moving the satellite between different orbital positions. For satellites using all-electric propulsion with long orbit-raising times, the frequency agility can be particularly valuable. Interference problems in orbit can also be eliminated or significantly reduced using this technique.
Kongsberg Norspace is already building flight units using the new-generation design, but without the frequency agility, for another customer. These units will operate at Ka-band (28 GHz), while the SES-10 units will operate at Ku-band (14 GHz).
"The long term technical and development support from the ESA ARTES programme has been essential to our success in the commercial space market", says Kongsberg Norspace CEO Sverre Bisgaard.
For more information, see: Product details (Kongsberg Norspace)