Honeywell’s Big Solutions for Small Satellites

April 8, 2015

Small Satellites

When space systems engineers at Honeywell began looking for ways to improve the performance and reliability of small satellites, they didn’t have to look very far. After all, we developed and built momentum control systems and guidance and navigation systems for most of the larger satellites orbiting the earth today.

Now we’ve taken on the challenge of applying our industry-leading expertise to the unique challenges that small satellites present. That means reducing product size, weight, power requirements and manufacturing costs while developing products with the reliability and performance characteristics that enable satellites weighing less than 500 pounds to be cost-effective and achieve their important missions.

Smaller satellites are becoming a much larger part of the satellite business, with several major new constellations in various stages of development. For example, OneWeb is planning a 600-satellite constellation to deliver high-speed Internet services to remote areas around the world. Honeywell and OneWeb are working together to bring the benefits of this planned network to aircraft operators and passengers. In all, these initiatives will place thousands of small satellites in earth orbit.

Honeywell’s expertise in space systems gives us a foundation to build upon as we develop capabilities to meet the needs of this rapidly expanding market. For example, our new on-board processing systems are radiation hardened with high throughput and modular packaging to support a variety of integrated attitude control system missions and architectures. Our space electronics solutions focus on solving our customers' needs. We have demonstrated the ability to reduce program risk, deliver on time and meet customer performance specifications and life requirements.

Honeywell reaction wheel assemblies are reliable, lightweight solutions that provide stability and attitude-control for small to very large satellites. Earth-pointing satellites and multiple-satellite communication networks are examples of applications that require the fine attitude control that Honeywell can provide. Honeywell reaction wheels have accumulated more than 113 million hours, or more than 12,900 years, in space and have never caused a mission to end prematurely.

Space systems engineers are taking a One Honeywell approach as they explore options for a new generation of products designed to meet the specific needs of small satellites. They’re forging partnerships with other Honeywell business units, including those that build aircraft engines and avionics systems and automotive turbochargers, to find ways to apply techniques they’ve perfected to achieving the right balance between affordability and reliability.