Thales Alenia Space uses HUBER+SUHNER RF components for Galileo GPS satellites

Dec. 23, 2016
HERISAU, Switzerland. Project Galileo, a joint initiative of the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA), has gone live, with global connectivity supplier HUBER+SUHNER on-board. Switzerland-based HUBER+SUHNER is supplying radio-frequency components to the project.

HERISAU, Switzerland. Project Galileo, a joint satellite initiative of the European Union (EU) and European Space Agency (ESA), has gone live, with global connectivity supplier HUBER+SUHNER on-board. Switzerland-based HUBER+SUHNER is supplying radio-frequency components to the project.

Following an extensive testing period and 17 years of development, the Galileo system went live last week with the goal to supply the world’s most accurate satellite navigation technology.

Image courtesy ESA–Pierre Carril, 2015.

Galileo is designed to provide enhanced positioning navigation, unique accuracy, and faster detection of emergency beacon signals, helping rescue teams when every minute matters. Users around the world can now benefit from an accurate, guaranteed global positioning system (GPS) under civilian control.

HUBER+SUHNER supplies more than 4,500 radio-frequency components to Thales Alenia Space in Italy for a number of the Galileo satellites, which use HUBER+SUHNER adapters to connect the antennas to the active satellite components. The adapters have an MMBX standard connector at one end and special HUBER+SUHNER customization for direct soldering onto the antenna at the other end.

HUBER+SUHNER is providing connectors that are capable of transferring the highest power level required. Once installed and in space, the antennas, equipped with HUBER+SUHNER adapters, send position data to Earth that is then used to pinpoint the location of individuals or objects.

“The ever-growing importance and dependence of satellite navigation applications for both businesses and European citizens makes the potential disruption of a satellite navigation service unacceptable,” says Patric Keller, aerospace and defense market unit manager at HUBER+SUHNER. “To ensure that all components could withstand the harsh environment of space, they had to pass a wide variety of vibration, tensile, and temperature tests. We subjected adapters to temperature cycles ranging from -120°C up to +120°C over several months to ensure the required performance level could be achieved.”

With 18 Galileo satellites in orbit and the supporting ground infrastructure, Galileo is now available for use by public authorities, businesses, and citizens. The project is also mutually compatible with American GPS and the Russian Glonass navigation system.

The first services to be offered by Galileo include the Open Service, the Public Regulated Service, and the Search and Rescue Service. The Open Service is a free mass-market service that can be used by Galileo-enabled chipsets in smartphones or in-car navigation systems. The Search and Rescue Service is Europe’s contribution to an international emergency beacon locating system that can help to rescue people in distress. The Public Regulated Service is fully robust and encrypted to provide service continuity for government users during national emergencies or crisis situations.

“Galileo going live is excellent news for anyone who wants to benefit from the improved accuracy, reliability, availability and coverage that Galileo satellites are bringing,” Patric adds. “Quality products were understandably the highest priority for the ESA and our aerospace industry expertise and many years of experience made us a natural fit for the project, which we are proud to be a part of. ESA’s endorsement of HUBER+SUHNER is a clear demonstration of the company’s quality development and manufacturing process.”

HUBER+SUHNER, based in Switzerland, is a globally active developer and supplier of components and system solutions for electrical and optical connectivity. Through its production of cables, connectors, and systems in the three key technologies of radio frequency, fiber optics, and low frequency, the company serves three markets: Communications, Transportation, and Industrial. Its products are set apart by their excellent performance, quality, reliability and durability, even under challenging conditions. HUBER+SUHNER has a global production network and provides local customer support via branch offices and representatives in over 60 countries.

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