Mission Accomplished for Honeywell Cassini Components

September 20, 2017 | Author: Jeffrey Wiesel

Scientists have a much better understanding of Saturn and its moons, rings and atmosphere thanks to Honeywell equipment on the historic Cassini spacecraft. In fact, Cassini would not have been able to send more than 450,000 awe-inspiring pictures and 635 gigabytes of scientific data back to earth without our diplexer technology.

“Our diplexer enables spacecraft like Cassini to transmit and receive signals at the same time over vast expanses. Because of the distance between Saturn and Earth, Cassini needed to receive low-power signals and transmit high-power signals simultaneously,” said Jeff Wiesel, Honeywell space sales manager.

“The diplexer picks up commands from scientists on Earth that are extremely quiet and it can distinguish those important signals from all the other ‘noise’ that’s out there in space,” he added. “It’s like being able to hear a pin drop during a rock concert.”

Cassini’s remarkable 20-year mission ended Sept. 15 when scientists intentionally guided the spacecraft toward Saturn where it burned up in the planet’s atmosphere. The Honeywell diplexer enabled Cassini to transmit valuable data during its descent.

Wiesel has mixed emotions about the mission’s end. “There’s a little bit of sadness and a great sense of pride in the contributions we made to the Cassini program,” he said. “Our diplexer was extremely important to expanding mankind’s knowledge of Saturn and it’s very satisfying to know that it continued to work well beyond its original design life.”

Launched in October 1997, the spacecraft entered orbit around Saturn in 2004, carrying the European Huygens probe. After its four-year prime mission, Cassini's tour was extended twice. The Cassini–Huygens mission was a collaboration between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. Chief among Cassini’s accomplishments was the discovery of water-based ice on Enceladus and stable liquids on the surface of Titan.

Honeywell has a long history of developing and producing products and systems designed to meet the unique challenges of manned and unmanned spaceflight. The Honeywell equipment for Cassini was developed in Cambridge, Ontario, by engineers at the former COM DEV International, which Honeywell acquired in 2016. The company has been developing sophisticated filters and switches that can withstand the rigors of space for over four decades.

Jeffrey Wiesel

Jeffrey Wiesel

Sr. Manager OEM Space Sales