News & Analysis

EECL wins LNA supply deal for HydroGNSS

8th September 2022
Mick Elliott

EECL has signed a contract to supply low noise amplifiers (LNA) to Surrey Satellite Technology (SSTL) for the front-end receiver of the European Space Agency (ESA) HydroGNSS Scout Earth Observation payload. 

HydroGNSS is planned to carry out important geophysical measurements to assist in the battle against climate change. 

The deal between EECL and SSTL was signed at Space-Comm Expo 2022 this week.

EECL had previously designed and built engineering models of the LNA. The new contract relates to a follow-on order for qualification and flight units to be deployed in the spacecraft.

HydroGNSS – ESA’s second Earth observation Scout mission – is a small satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), featuring a low-power receiver that collects signals reflected from land, ocean and ice on the Earth’s surface to carry out important geophysical measurements that can indicate the effects of climate change.

It achieves this using a GNSS reflectometry technique, which uses signals from Global Navigation Satellites like GPS and Galileo as the radar signal sources.

These measurements of key hydrological climate variables include soil moisture, freeze-thaw state over permafrost, inundation and wetlands, and above-ground biomass.

The low noise figure of the EECL LNA is key to ensuring the HydroGNSS receiver has enough signal sensitivity to be able to perform the metrics, and thus help monitor the Earth’s vital signs. 

“After successful delivery and acceptance of the Engineering Model Low Noise Amplifiers in the summer, SSTL is delighted to sign contracts for delivery of the qualification and flight units with EECL for the HydroGNSS ESA Scout Earth Observation mission, enabling a low noise figure for the payload instrument,” said Kuo Wong, head of subcontracts at SSTL.

“This new contract is a testament to the success of EECL’s lean, ‘right-first-time’ business model,” said Ben Kieniewicz, CEO of EECL. “In today’s fast-moving space market, satellite manufacturers are demanding designs that offer better performance, lower cost, and quicker turn-around times. At EECL we have the experience and flexibility to provide this service, while also employing state-of-the-art technologies and processes to address the newly emerging space applications.”

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