Congratulations Iridium Next

The first launch to place Iridium Next satellites into orbit was successfully completed yesterday at 1754 GMT from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

The SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, carrying 10 communications satellites into low-Earth orbit, is the first of 7 flights that will loft 70 of the 860 kilogram satellites that will comprise the “NEXT” constellation. Image: Artist’s concept of an Iridium Next satellite. Courtesy: Thales Alenia Space

About 10 minutes after launch, the first stage of the Falcon-9 rocket successfully touched down on a platform in the Pacific Ocean, a feat previously accomplished by four other returning Falcon rockets. SpaceX intends to reuse its rockets to cut costs.

The payloads were designed by Thales Alenia Space and were assembled in Virginia-based Orbital ATK’s Arizona facility.

The contribution TRAK Microwave Limited has made to the program has been centred around the production of almost 20,000 flight models that have been supplied over the past three years to a number of EU based customers. Customers have integrated these stripline, coaxial and waveguide components into a number of critical equipments including the L-Band Transmit/Receive distributed arrays and the K-Band MUX systems.

In terms of the number of prod uses delivered and the number of payloads supported, Iridium NEXT is the largest program that TRAK has participated in. The gallery below depicts 3 of the 9 custom designed passive products designed and supplied by TRAK for the Iridium Next program. Full details of TRAK’s heritage details can be viewed here

L-Band 10W Miniature Drop-In Circulator

L-Band 10W Miniature Drop-In Circulator

WR28, 27-31 GHz 3dB Hybrid Coupler

WR28, 27-31 GHz 3dB Hybrid Coupler

K-Band Filtered Iso-Transition

K-Band Filtered Iso-Transition

The Iridium NEXT system will eventually replace Iridium’s current communications network which consists of 66 satellites in low-earth orbit. The new system will enhance Iridium’s ability to meet a growing global demand for mobile communications on land, at sea, and in the skies.

RF and microwave circulator for radar, EW, and communications introduced by TRAK Microwave

June 14, 2016

By Mil & Aero staff

TAMPA, Fla., 14 June 2016. TRAK Microwave Corp. in Tampa, Fla., is introducing the TRAK X-Band surface mount (SMT) RF and microwave circulator for phased array radarantennas as well as EW and communications systems applications.

This SMT circulator compatible with tape-and-reel (pick-and-place) and standard solder reflow profiles. It is designed to replace drop-in and microstrip style circulators.

This unit provides a 10 percent bandwidth at X-Band, a minimum of 20 dB isolation, and 0.45 dB maximum insertion loss.

Offering as much as 20 wcw of power handling in a 0.25-inch square by 0.066-inch high package, and an operating temperature of -40 to 85 degrees Celsius, these circulators offer high performance with minimal influence on real estate.

They reduce costs by eliminating custom mounting configurations required with other circulator styles and install onto CCA/PWB the same as other SMT components.

For more information contact TRAK Microwave online at


Happy Independance Day America 

Coincidence? On July 4th 2016 and after a five year journey the NASA Juno probe will enter into orbit around Jupiter. The mission’s principal goal is to understand the origin and evolution of Jupiter, teasing out the mysteries that lie beneath the dense Jovian cloud cover, secrets that may help unravel the fundamental processes and conditions that governed our solar system during its formation.

With its suite of science instruments, Juno will investigate the existence of a solid planetary core, map Jupiter’s intense magnetic field, measure the amount of water and ammonia in the deep atmosphere, and observe the planet’s auroras and relay the data back to Earth.

uno will let us take a giant step forward in our understanding of how giant planets form and the role these titans played in putting together the rest of the solar system.

On board the Juno probe is a deep space transponder that is crucial in relaying the mission data back to Earth. It is this transmitter and this is where TRAK can claim to have played its part with the Ka-Band high power isolators that were supplied to Thales Alenia Space almost years ago.

  • Mission Timeline
    • TRAK products supplied for integration – September 2010
    • Launch – August 5, 2011
    • Deep Space Maneuvers – August/September 2012
    • Earth flyby gravity assist – October 2013
    • Jupiter arrival – July 2016
    • Spacecraft will orbit Jupiter for 20 months (37 orbits)

All going well and when the last bit of data has been streamed to Earth, in February 2018, and the 37th of Juno’s allotted orbits is done, Juno, the fastest ever planetary space vehicle will light its engine one last time on a planned de-orbit; plunging into the boiling atmosphere of the planet and ending its historic miasion.

Jupiter is the 8th planetary and interplanetary body orbiter/lender that TRAK products have been supplied for.

X-Band Surface Mount (SMT) Circulator with low Insertion Loss and Small Package

May 23, 2016 – Tampa, FL – Smiths Microwave Subsystems is pleased to announce the release of the TRAK XBand Surface Mount (SMT) Circulator. This device is a low-cost, true SMT circulator compatible with tape-andreel (pick-and-place) and standard solder reflow profiles. It is designed to replace “drop-in” and microstrip style circulators. This unit provides a 10% bandwidth at X-Band, a minimum of 20 dB isolation, and 0.45 dB maximum insertion loss. Offering up to 20wcw of power handling in a 0.25” square by 0.066” high package, and an operating temperature of -40oC to +85oC, these circulators offer high performance with minimal impact on real estate. They greatly reduce costs by eliminating custom mounting configurations required with other circulator styles and install onto your CCA/PWB exactly the same as other SMT components. These innovative circulators are optimal for phased array Radar antennas as well as EW and Communications systems applications.

Coming soon is an (X-Band) 30% bandwidth version in a 0.35” square package, and a new S-Band device in a 0.75” square package.

About TRAK Microwave Corporation

TRAK Microwave Corporation is an advanced RF and Digital technology company that designs and manufactures a diverse range of RF and Microwave assemblies, subsystems, components, and Precise Time and Frequency systems for high performance defense, space and commercial applications worldwide. TRAK is ISO 9001 and AS9100C registered. For more information visit:

About Smiths Microwave Subsystems 

Smiths Microwave Subsystems is a business unit of Smiths Interconnect ( and includes TRAK, Millitech, and TECOM. The collective brands offer a strong heritage in customized and standard RF through millimeter-wave subsystems, frequency and timing systems, and antennas to defense and commercial customers. The Subsystems team specializes in the design, development and manufacture of customer-driven solutions including board-level components, RF assemblies, highly integrated subsystems, antennas and build-to-print manufacturing and testing.

Exomars launches

Exomars launches

Exomars launches: Congratulations to everyone involved with the recent successful launch of first mission of the ExoMars programme.

Scheduled to arrive at Mars in 2016, this initial phase consists of the Trace Gas Orbiter plus an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module, known as Schiaparelli.

Exomars Launches
Image courtesy of ESA

The objective of this mission are the search for trace atmospheric gases, including methane, that would be indicative of active biological or geological processes and the test and preparation of key technologies for future missions to Mars. TRAK’s contribution was the supply of critical waveguide components for the telemetry, data and command transmitters; products that were delivered to customers in Italy, Spain and France.


The cruise phase will take around 7 months, arriving at Mars in October 2016. Three days before reaching the atmosphere of Mars, Schiaparelli will be ejected from the Orbiter towards the Red Planet and will then coast towards its destination, entering the Martian atmosphere decelerating from 21,000 kph using aerobraking and a parachute. The final breaking will be made using a thruster system before landing on the surface of the planet.

Waveguide High Power 1 Space - Exomars Launches

Once on the surface Schiaparelli will communicate with the Orbiter using both the Mars Express (another mission with TRAK products aboard) and from a NASA Relay Orbiter. Meanwhile the ExoMars Orbiter will be inserted into an elliptical orbit around Mars, finally settling into a circular ~400-km altitude orbit, before conducting its scientific mission. The scientific mission is expected to begin in December 2017 and will run for five years.

The Trace Gas Orbiter will also be used to relay data for the 2018 rover mission of the ExoMars programme and until the end of 2022 and TRAK is proud to announce it has been already been selected to provide identical components for the next phase of the mission.

Watch the launch using this link.

TRAK Microwave

TRAK is delighted to welcome Lorch into the Smiths Interconnect Microwave Components Business Group

TRAK is delighted to welcome, effective 15th February, 2016, Lorch into the Smiths Interconnect Microwave Components Business Group.

The addition of Lorch Microwave’s RF/microwave conditioning products; high selectivity filters using multiple topologies, broadens the Components business unit’s portfolio of passive products; ferrite isolators, waveguide, board level & coaxial resistive components and cable interconnects.

‘We are excited to welcome the committed team in Salisbury and look forward to providing our current and future customers with an even broader range of component solutions”, noted Robert Torsiello, President of Smiths Microwave Components. “Lorch is an industry recognized brand with a substantial heritage of innovation and customization. This addition ultimately reinforces our long established value proposition and business strategy; we are now technologically broader and deeper than just last week”.

Lorch, based in Salisbury Maryland, has more than four decades experience as a leading RF and Microwave products supplier designing and supplying innovative solutions to a diverse and ever-changing electronics and communications industry. From wireless products and high performance micro miniature filters to cavity, discrete, waveguide, tunable, ceramic, tubular filters, rf products and integrated assemblies.

The Components group now employees over 450 people with product design, design support and manufacturing on 4 sites located in Dundee, Scotland, Stuart, FL, Salisbury, MD and in Alajuela in Costa Rica.

TRAK Microwave

Congratulations SENTINEL-3a

SENTINEL-3a spacecraft has been successfully launched into orbit with high power waveguide, coaxial isolators and other passive components produced by TRAK Microwave in Dundee.

The SENTINEL-3a payload, launched from the Plestsk Cosmodrome today at ~18:00 UTC, contains several equipments containing TRAK products supplied almost 3 years ago to 4 customers in the EU and the is 3rd COPERNICUS mission to have been launched and 6th payload in the SENTINEL constellation to use TRAK products.

Carrying a suite of 4 cutting-edge instruments, Sentinel-3a will measure systematically Earth’s oceans, land, ice and atmosphere to monitor and understand large-scale global dynamics. The mission is based on a two identical satellites orbiting in constellation for optimum global coverage and data delivery.

With a focus towards our oceans, Sentinel-3a measures the temperature, colour and height of the sea surface as well as the thickness of sea ice. These measurements will be used to monitor changes in sea level, marine pollution and biological productivity.

Over land, thie mission will monitor wildfires, map the way land is used and measure the height of rivers and lakes – complementing the high-resolution measurements of its sister mission Sentinel-2.

The mission is the result of close collaboration between ESA, the European Commission, Eumetsat, France’s CNES space agency, industry, service providers and data users, designed and built by a consortium of around 100 companies under the leadership of Thales Alenia Space, France.

SENTINEL-3B is scheduled for launch in 2017.