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Satellite Communications Technology

Syrlinks allows OneWeb to control its satellites

A few hours after the launch of the first 6 satellites of its constellation, OneWeb took successfully control of them thanks to the equipment conceived by Syrlinks. This achievement positions the French company as a global leader in space radiocommunications.

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Syrlinks team working on OneWeb project in R&D laboratory (courtesy: Syrlinks)

"This success confirms the position and importance of Syrlinks to contribute to Airbus ambitions in tomorrow’s markets" declares a project manager of Airbus.

The company will produce more than 3,000 radiofrequency equipment for OneWeb program. It supplies two types of equipment to operate this set of micro-satellites, a transceiver to control the satellite from the ground-based infrastructure and a low noise amplifier at the input of the GPS receiver. This transceiver is a veritable vital link. It is designed to monitor and control the satellites, and to establish communication with the Earth.

Faced technological and industrial challenges

To answer this exceptional order, Syrlinks had to design dedicated high-performance products and create a brandnew industrialized production process designed to deliver this equipment. The impact has been considerable for the development of Syrlinks. High-level people have been recruited for this occasion and new premises were built to accommodate the new production means. The company had to create a product unit equipped with very specific equipment, including a clean room.

"The development of the Syrlinks’ Ka-band communication equipment, a highly critical organ in the OneWeb satellite, required an industrialization process that is quite unprecedented in the space field. Indeed, the production rate is exceptional for this kind of product. Moreover, the level of quality and reliability to reach is second to none, the objective being close to high-end space products" explains Philippe Bataille, technical manager for the OneWeb project at Syrlinks.

Today, many manufacturers in the United-States, Europe, Asia, and Brazil also have plans for constellations of micro or nano-satellites.

"Thanks to this partnership, our company has taken on a new dimension, enabling us to respond to new industrial challenges in the space sectors. Syrlinks team meets now the challenges of the space market by mass producing complex and ultra-reliable space equipment at a controlled cost" explains Guy Richard, CEO of Syrlinks. The company, founded in 2011 near Rennes (capital of Brittany), employs around a hundred people. Its leaders anticipate the recruitment of around twenty more staff in 2019.

The NewSpace revolution

With its radiocommunication equipment that they integrate into brand-new small satellites, Syrlinks meets the NewSpace challenge. The company has been working since 2011 on this new disruptive approach which has benefited from the most recent technological advances such as the miniaturization of components or public-private partnership. Indeed, the company has benefited from a BPI France funding in the national framework of PIAVE (Industrial projects for the future) and from the technical expertise of the CNES (French national center for space studies). This project has led to the development of a new product line for constellations. Thanks to this new expertise, Syrlinks has become one of the few French players of this NewSpace approach and plans to win new contracts very soon.

"In order for the constellations business model to remain viable, we had to reduce development and production costs, while maintaining a level of quality and reliability identical to the older generations of satellites. We had to rethink the development and production methods commonly used in the space industry by taking as our model what is being done in the automotive world. It was also necessary to rethink the equipment qualification and test methods. We are now well equipped to meet the challenges of the NewSpace universe" explains Bertrand Ekoué, Project Manager at Syrlinks.

The first global Internet satellite network

This OneWeb mega-constellation of 600 telecommunication microsatellites will provide whole Earth Internet coverage by 2022. This feat is made possible thanks to a considerable investment and a consortium of international companies selected for their expertise and their ability to move up to the industrial scale. This program will make it possible to produce unprecedented volumes. A true revolution for the space industry!

About Syrlinks

Thanks to its mastery of innovative technologies, Syrlinks designs, manufactures and markets high performance radiocommunication and geolocation equipment in the fields of space, defense, security and time-frequency. Its products are outstanding and internationally renowned for their robustness, their performance, their miniature size and their low energy consumption. Syrlinks works with prestigious clients and partners such as Airbus, Oneweb, the CNES (the French national agency for space studies), the European Space Agency (ESA), Thales Alenia Space, and Nexeya.

The company, founded in 2011 near Rennes, employs around a hundred people. Its leaders anticipate the recruitment of around twenty more staff in 2019. For its first space contract, Syrlinks participated in 2012 in the development of the CNES Myriade Evolutions platform’s radio links for Earth observation missions. The popularity of Syrlinks was also based on the Rosetta space mission, initiated by the ESA, aimed at exploring Comet Tchouri. Syrlinks team designed and manufactured the wireless communication systems connecting the Rosetta probe to the Philae robot-lander.