World leading microwave engineering company
Flann Microwave is supplying vital components to the US space agency NASA for a major
spaceflight mission making the first-ever global survey of Earth's surface water.
Professor James Watts with custom-made waveguide equipment.
The multinational Surface Water
and Ocean Topology (SWOT) satellite, planned to launch in 2021, is being jointly
developed and managed by NASA, the French Space Agency (CNES), and the Canadian Space
Agency, with contributions from the United Kingdom Space Agency.
It is UK-based Flann's first project for NASA and has seen engineers working closely
with their counterparts at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California,
in developing custom-made waveguide equipment.
This will be linked to the satellite's high-resolution radar as it tracks how Earth's
water bodies change over time, with the aim of improving ocean circulation models, weather
and climate predictions, and aiding in freshwater management around the world.
Flann's spaceflight attenuators have been designed and tested to withstand the rigours
of spaceflight, enabling consistent and highly accurate measurements as the SWOT satellite
surveys Earth's lakes, rivers, reservoirs and oceans and maps ocean surface height with
greater detail than previously recorded.
Engineering models of the components have already been delivered to and passed JPL's
spaceflight qualification tests and the final spaceflight models are due to be hand carried
back to the United States by JPL personnel in the coming weeks before being installed
in the spacecraft.
Professor James Watts, Chief Executive of Flann Microwave, said: "This is an incredibly
exciting and globally significant project which we are very proud to be a part of.
"NASA is synonymous with excellence, their standards are exacting and the resources
and engineering expertise at their disposal is hugely impressive. There's good reason
for that because the demands of spaceflight and the need for spacecraft and their components
to perform accurately and consistently in a high energy environment and across a wide
range of temperatures is technically challenging.
"So it has been a great experience to work with JPL in taking their specifications
and delivering a completely custom solution to meet their requirements
"We look forward to the launch of the mission and the new insights it will bring into
Earth's climate and precious water resources."
Flann has a 60-year record of continuous innovation and engineering excellence which
have secured it a global reputation and market leading position in the design and manufacture
of precision microwave communications equipment, for example in radar and to allow internet
and mobile data to be carried between mobile phone masts or through satellite links.
With a 60-strong team based in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK, the company serves customers
in the telecoms, government, automotive, aerospace, defence and research sectors, exporting
more than 80 per cent of production. It has also worked with UK and overseas government
agencies to write many of the standards used in the industry.
Flann was recently called in by the Met Office to help improve the reliability of
the UK weather radar network, supplying new hardware and technical advice as part of
a £10 million upgrade to the Met Office Radar Network completed in February 2018.
About Flann Microwave
For over sixty years, Flann Microwave Ltd has been a market-leading designer and manufacturer
of Antennas, Precision Microwave Components and Test and Measurement products operating
between frequencies of 2 to 500GHz and above.
The US operation, Flann Microwave Inc was established in Boston in the 1980's to support
the Company's sales activities in the USA.
Flann Microwave Ltd
Dunmere Road Bodmin
Telephone: +44 (0)1208 77777
Flann Microwave, Inc.
One Boston Place
Posted July 18, 2018