22 Apr 2016

Sentinel-1 B satellite with DA-Design subsystems launched

Sentinel-1 B satellite lifts Finnish technology to space again

Press Release 22.4.2016
DA-Design, based in the small Finnish town of Forssa, has provided a significant proportion of the European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 B earth observation radar, satellite payload. The launch is due to take place at 0.02 Finnish time on Saturday April 23rd (21.02 UTC April 22nd). The satellite will be launched from Kourou spaceport in French Guiana on a Soyuz rocket.

Liftoff of the Soyuz launcher took place on
25 April at 23:02 CEST/21:02 UTC.

The new satellite Sentinel-1 B will be put into same orbit as its sister satellite Sentinel-1 A, for which DA-Design also supplied the same important subsystems. The two satellites will operate in opposite orbital positions, greatly reducing the observation repeat timing.

Participation in the significant satellite projects, with such a strong share, has stimulated technical advances and demonstrated an efficient QA/PA system within DA-Design. These projects started back in 2007 and the conduct of the work required strong company investments to maintain the demanding schedule. The company was able to fullfill the requirements and deliver the finished subsystems to several European space, large scale integrators.

"This has been a very important phase and path, through which we build ourselves to the next level", describes Sami Kotiniemi, the Chief Executive Officer for DA-Group. "We have been able to fulfill our promises and raise our preparedness to take part in even larger projects. I am very proud of our top quality team. We will be watching the Friday evening's launch with enthusiasm as it will take more of our instruments into space."

The customer satisfaction is shown by the fact, that currently DA-Design is preparing corresponding parts for Sentinel-1 C and D satellites. This contract was signed in February of this year.

DA's investment to the future: 25 000 square meters gives room for growth

The company's largest investment so far was made in the end of last year, when it bought the Hämeen Paino Oy and its business premises in Forssa's Kassimäki, from Sanoma Media Finland Oy.

"These new premises consist of 25 000 square meters, which is a large increase in our scale", Sami Kotiniemi admits. DA-Group's all activities in Jokioinen and Forssa's manufacturing facilities and testing services will be transferred to the new premises. The moving process will start in April and most of it will be carried out in May and June. Additionally, DA-Group has offices in Tampere and Turku.

For space electronics the cleanroom area will be quadrupled. This will make it possible to complete DA-Group's many current orders for space instruments, in parallel. From the perspective of the business premises there will be room for growth for at least 10-15 years.

During the last years DA-Group has been growing and investing significantly, with increasing turnover. This is in the opposite direction to Finland's general economic trends. However, expansion will be closely monitored to avoid serious growing pains, says Mr. Kotiniemi.

Currently DA-Group employs around 80 persons and, besides space technology, core competence rests in two main areas, the defense industry and the more traditional field of customers in Finnish technology and industry.

In-house from start to end

Within these technology areas, in Finland, DA-Design possesses an exceptionally comprehensive capacity of know-how and dedication. The long process of manufacturing space instruments can be made all the way from the design to testing entirely in-house.

"We only outsource some processes such as the manufacturing of printed circuit boards and gold coatings", says Business Director Petri Jukkala. "Otherwise the manufacturing is all in our own hands. In some areas this is not easy, but in the perspective of projects lasting several years, the concentration of work in-house makes the control of schedule substantially easier and can aid control of costs."

In the space sector quality assurance and customer satisfaction play a central part. Reliability is easier to guarantee, when it rests for the most part in the hands of company's own experienced staff.

DA-Design designed and delivered subsystems both to the satellite's SAR Electronics Subsystem and Antenna Subsystem:

  •  Mission Dependent Filter Equipment
  •  RF Distribution Network
  •  SES RF Harness
  • Transmit Gain Unit

DA-Design performed the work as a subcontractor to Airbus Defence and Space.

The DA team who participated in the Sentinel-1 A and B projects.

The twin satellites work continuously

"Sentinel-1 A and B contains four subsystems, which have been manufactured by DA-Design; mission dependent filter equipment, RF distribution network, SES RF harness and transmit gain unit", lists Jukkala.

"The SAR radar can be compared to a camera operating in at radio frequencies and taking three dimensional slice photos", Petri Jukkala explains.

From the orbital height of 700 km the ground resolution is around five meters. The satellites image continuously the land and sea surfaces in Europe and in other parts of the world. When comparing the consecutive radar images, the resolution for spotting differences is considerably finer.

In RF signal processing the components must be of extremely high quality. Through the painstaking and versatile process of design and testing it can be ensured that the performance will meet the requirements, over the period of integration to launch (sometimes several years) and during planned operational orbit life. The satellites have been designed for operational lifespan of 7 years with fuel enough for 12 years of maintaining the orbit.

More information on ESA and TEKES

ESA - Copernicus: Observing the earth programme

TEKES Space  - (in English) and (in Finnish)

For more information, contact DA-Design's professionals

Petri Jukkala, Business Director
Nicholas Hughes, Business Development Director
Sami Kotiniemi, CEO

Nicholas Hughes and Petri Jukkala

Sami Kotiniemi







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