In February, NASA’s Dawn mission made headlines by detecting organic material on Ceres, a dwarf plant in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. This important scientific discovery was made possible in part by technology from Honeywell that enables scientists on Earth to communicate with the spacecraft.
“Our diplexer filters and redundancy switching equipment are essential to Dawn’s mission capability,” said Jeff Wiesel, director of Business Development.
“The diplexer enables the spacecraft to transmit and receive signals at the same time. Because of the distance between Dawn and the Earth, the spacecraft needs to receive lower-power signals and transmit high-power signals simultaneously. It’s like hearing a pin drop during a rock concert, and it wouldn’t be possible without our technology,” Wiesel said.
Redundancy switching hardware ensures that Dawn stays operational even if its primary circuits fail. The technology lets the spacecraft shift seamlessly to its redundant communications system if something happens with the primary system.
The Honeywell equipment for Dawn 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.
“We’re the technology leader in filters and switches for spaceflight,” said Wiesel, who’s worked at the company for nearly 35 years. “Our products can be found on all kinds of spacecraft performing all kinds of scientific exploration, commercial and government missions. After all these years, I still find it very energizing to be involved in this exciting business.”