ESA Science Core Technology Development Success Story - Broadening the TT&C Industrial Base in Europe [Aug/2022]
Development of TT&C subsystem capability, funded by ESA’s Science Core Technology programme, creates another European alternative for this critical spacecraft function for upcoming science missions, leading to improvements for commercial satellites. CTP funding was awarded to Norway’s Kongsberg Space Electronics (KSE). The company possessed extensive existing expertise in the development of TT&C products for the commercial satellite telecommunication industry.
The telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C) subsystem of a satellite provides a connection between an orbiting spacecraft and ground infrastructure. TT&Cs are vital to the successful operations of satellites. ESA identified the need to develop more performant TT&C subsystems for science missions, notably to increase the data rate to keep up with the ever more advanced satellite instruments and to diversify its suppliers. This was also seen as a good opportunity to develop Norway’s space-based competencies.
The system engineering knowledge, expertise and processes spill-over from the CTP programme has helped increase KSE’s competitiveness within the company’s main expertise market, i.e. the commercial satcom sector. With its K-band transmitter, KSE has developed a product on the market that is comparable, if not better, than many of its competitors, and its performance and power requirements make the product well-suited for compatibility with the demanding requirements of missions such as PLATO and ARIEL. KSE is also competitive on pricing, and there has been interest from overseas from countries such as Japan.
By winning contracts with ESA CTP, KSE has been able to expand its business, enter into new market segments, establish new company expertise and become increasingly competitive. These business activities have therefore directly contributed towards addressing some of the priorities outlined in the Government’s strategy for Norway.
With its TT&C subsystem developed with CTP support, KSE has helped broaden the industrial base for TT&C in Europe and further expand European non-dependence with its advanced capabilities.
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This initiative is led by ESA’s Science Core Technology Programme. More information can be accessed at ESA - Science Core Technology Programme (CTP).