SWISSto12 and Thales sign contract to develop amplifiers

The SSPA amplifiers from Thales will be part of the array antenna of the HummingSat payload.
Photo credit: Thales and Swissto12

SWISSto12, Switzerland’s aerospace company and a manufacturer of advanced satellite payloads and systems, has announced the signing of its first contract with Thales. Thales will develop and supply the Ka-band Solid-State Power Amplifiers (SSPAs) that will be a key component of the antenna link between Earth and SWISSto12’s HummingSat range of next-generation, small-sized geostationary telecommunications satellites.

This first contract with a New Space player is a further illustration of Thales’s ability to adapt to the needs of a sector that has been profoundly impacted by demand from geostationary telecom satellite operators for more flexible coverage, and by the expanding role of satellite constellations. The agreement further consolidates Thales’s position as a full-range supplier of amplification solutions, from conventional travelling wave tubes (TWTs) to compact, lightweight dual-TWT and SSPA products.

The SSPA amplifiers from Thales will be part of the array antenna of the HummingSat payload. More compact, less expensive, optimised for size and weight and with highly integrated electronics, these amplifiers are tailored to the needs of new small-sized GEO satellites like HummingSat.

These advanced technologies are the result of successful collaboration within the Thales organisation. The group has set up a dedicated team to develop SSPA products that meet the time-to-market and design-to-cost requirements of customers. Thales expects to achieve the qualification of its SSPA product line in 2024.

Dr Emile de Rijk, founder and CEO of SWISSto12, said: “We are delighted to be pursuing this collaboration with Thales, a world leader in satellite power amplification. The cutting-edge technology from Thales has been developed in close connection with our antenna solutions and is a strong match for the telecommunications infrastructure offered by the HummingSat product line. Our platform is a showcase for the disruptive technologies emerging in Europe’s space landscape and offers the capacity, performance and flexibility that satellite operators need to address previously under-served markets.”

Cécile Assié, VP of Strategy and Marketing, Microwave and Imaging Subsystems, Thales, added: “Technical innovation is part of the DNA of Thales’s Microwave and Imaging Subsystems business, and we’re delighted to be collaborating with such a dynamic and agile company for the development of a state-of-the-art Ka-band SSPA product for Swissto12’s HummingSat platform.”

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