Harris Corporation will celebrate a major space satellite antenna milestone – the production of its 100th unfurlable mesh reflector, which provides the critical communications link between satellites and ground stations. The company is the world reflector leader, producing significantly more than any other company over the past 40-plus years.
Harris employees, customers and other dignitaries will gather next week at the company’s Palm Bay, Florida, facility to commemorate the production of the latest reflector, which will support a carbon-monitoring satellite mission to study the changing state of global forests. Harris is manufacturing the reflector for Airbus Defence and Space, Europe’s leading space company.
The 12-meter reflector will be the first space-borne, P-band antenna designed to observe annual changes in biomass – the amount of living matter in a given habitat – in most of the world’s forests, over multiple growth cycles. Studying biomass is important in understanding the Earth’s climate.
This milestone demonstrates Harris’ commitment to investing in and growing space antenna reflector solutions with unmatched on-orbit success and design options. Harris continues to invest in its technologies with more than $300 million annual internal research and development – representing an industry-leading 5 percent of company revenue. The company began manufacturing space antennas in the 1970s.
“The production of Harris’ 100th unfurlable mesh reflector is a major accomplishment, and we’re excited to see it support an environmental mission with global impact,” said Tom Campbell, general manager, Space Antennas and Structures, Harris Space and Intelligence Systems. “This is a tribute to the more than 400 dedicated men and women who engineer and build these state-of-the-art reflectors at Harris.”
Chris Lloyd, Head of the Biomass programme at Airbus said: “Building the world’s first forest measurement satellite for the European Space Agency is a huge challenge – and this reflector will be a key element in helping to measure forest biomass and carbon on a global scale.”