L3Harris Recognized for Optimizing Satellite Communication


L3Harris Recognized for Optimizing Satellite Communication


Jun 18, 2020

In the 21st century we have become increasingly dependent on satellites to meet the demand for high speed data transmission, supporting everything from high definition images in TV broadcasts to remote online education, public service and military needs.

This year L3Harris is being inducted into the Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame® for its successful commercialization of satellite technology that advances these voice and data internet services worldwide.

The technology development team participated in a virtual induction ceremony in March, but L3Harris’ work in space goes back a lifetime.

Equipment from L3Harris has enabled lunar rover exploration and images from space crews, while the Apollo missions have relied on our antenna systems to help recover teams and locate command modules after splashdown.

“As a company we’ve partnered with NASA to enhance space performance for more than 50 years. It’s amazing that this seemingly small component of a greater system provides the communication edge NASA needs,” said Steve Shpock, sector engineering lead including electron devices at L3Harris. “And there’s no room for error. We’re the only provider of space-certified amplifiers in the U.S. so our product has to perform perfectly.”

Seeking perfection has paid off. Today, amplifiers are recognized by the Space Technology Hall of Fame® for enhancing mobile voice, data and broadband services used daily around the world—a key qualification for inductees.

TWT amplifier hardware systems—which have been around since the early 1930’s—are known to optimize communications products. Creating amplifiers with higher frequencies increases bandwidth, transferring more data for enhanced use which is key for an increasingly mobile world.

Initially the systems were designed to amplify radio frequency signals. They then evolved to meet the transmission needs of an entire space mission. With the joint effort of L3Harris and NASA, the first amplifier flew on a satellite in 1962. Since 1972, L3Harris’s amplifiers have consistently been part of every spacecraft launched by NASA, accumulating more than 130 million in-orbit operating hours.

“‘Never stop innovating’ is a mission for our development and engineering team. Our TWT amplifiers are like a car engine in a satellite system. They provide the power that is a core element of its function. By revving this engine, we can transmit more data to more users.  In the end, we accomplish great things as part of the space mission that benefits everyday technology that we all use,” said Shpock.

The Space Technology Hall of Fame® plans to honor L3Harris at the postponed 36th Space Symposium, October 31 through November 2.