• Blog: Celebrating 30 Years of Success in Space

    Quantic Wenzel Associates | Celebrating 30 Years in Space Website Banner Graphic

    Thirty years ago this month, Quantic Wenzel (formerly Wenzel Associates) undertook its first space engineering and manufacturing project supporting the GEOSAT Follow On satellite program. Since May 1993, we’ve amassed a storied record of achievement supporting commercial, defense, and ground systems. We could not be more excited to celebrate our history in space, our success, and all the incredible accomplishments achieved thanks to our employees, customers, supplier partners, and the local Austin, Texas community.

    Quantic Wenzel Associates Blog Graphic | Celebrating 30 Years in Space GEOSAT Follow On
    Pictured: Wenzel OCXO and GEOSAT Follow On Satellite

    Reflecting on Decades of Success in Space

    Thirty years in space is a huge deal to us! Our entire team is beyond thrilled to celebrate this important milestone. Much has changed since undertaking our first engineering and manufacturing project for space in 1993; technological achievements have been revolutionary and as a result quality of life has advanced significantly for billions of people across the world (think rapid communication, internet access, etc.). While we are not an integrated systems manufacturer delivering space vehicles to the launch pad, our frequency control and timing solutions have contributed in a small way to the advancement of humankind, and for that we are very proud.

    Quantic Wenzel Associates Blog Graphic | Celebrating 30 Years in Space Engineer Test Graphic
    Pictured: Frequency Source Testing in Austin, TX

    Building for space is very challenging, programs require innovative engineering approaches to achieve size, weight, power, cost, lead time, and performance requirements. We’re proud to say our team has earned a reputation for engineering solutions that deliver excellent frequency stability, vibration mitigation, low-g endurance, ultra-low phase noise performance, and temperature balance. That reputation is why our solutions continue to enable the world’s leading integrated systems space manufacturing companies.

    Important Milestones in Space

    From traditional space to new space applications our team has worked with many different government contracted and commercial entities to engineer and manufacture custom crystal oscillators, advanced frequency sources, and integrated microwave assemblies. The timeline featured below highlights some of the most prominent space missions we’ve supported to date.

    Mission Timeline (Click to Expand)

    U.S Navy GEOSAT Follow On (GFO)
    Wenzel receives its first space applications contract

    Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory NEAR Shoemaker
    First flight unit deployed into space.

    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Pathfinder
    Oscillator installed into Martian base-station.

    Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory TIMED Mission
    Frequency reference

    NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter
    Ovenized Crystal Oscillator

    Timing device for Aquarius instrument

    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Curiosity
    Timing Synthesizer

    Orbcomm OG2 Satellite Constellation

    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory SMAP
    10 MHz ovenized crystal oscillator

    Frequency reference for Advanced Technology Microwave Sounder instrument

    NASA ICESat-2
    USO timing solution for ATLAS instrument

    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Perseverance
    Timing Synthesizer

    Classified Defense Space Program
    Mini-USO for LEO/GEO satellite constellations

    NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Europa REASON
    Timing Synthesizer

    Confidential Commercial Broadband LEO Space Application
    ONYX Crystal Oscillator

    A mission that we were particularly proud to support was NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars 2020 mission, which included the rover Perseverance, the small robotic helicopter Ingenuity, and associated delivery systems. Working closely with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, our expert engineering and manufacturing teams delivered a 11.25 GHz frequency synthesizer supporting the radar-based altimeter. The power system, antennas, and our frequency synthesizer allowed the landing craft to hover above the Mars surface, as Perseverance gently guided to the landing site on February 18th, 2021. The mission, which is still ongoing as of May 2023, addresses high-priority science goals for Mars exploration, including key questions about the potential for life on Mars. The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself.

    Quantic Wenzel Associates Blog Graphic | Celebrating 30 Years in Space Mars 2020 Synthesizer Graphic
    Pictured: Mars 2020 Landing Radar Synthesizer

    Our Company Today, New Logo, Same Wenzel

    One exciting development in recent history was our rebrand, a decision made to communicate our extended engineering and manufacturing ecosystem with Quantic Electronics. With over a century of combined experience, our teams across the U.S. and abroad share best practices, learn from each other, and support our customers’ mission-critical RF & Microwave, Capacitor, Resistor, Magnetic, and Sensing applications.

    Quantic Wenzel Associates Blog Graphic | Celebrating 30 Years in Space Liz Ronchetti Quote

    Charles Wenzel and Liz Ronchetti founded Wenzel in 1978 and over the decades, built a name in quality, performance, and a culture dedicated to employee and customer success. While our branding and logo has changed, we retain the same exceptional engineering, manufacturing, and leadership team at our facility in Austin, Texas. We remain committed to providing our customers with the highest quality solutions, meeting the absolute toughest requirements for any space application.

    Our Future in Space

    It wasn’t long ago when space was primarily a government applications domain. Today, commercial organizations are no longer hindered by high costs, limited launch system options, and other operating challenges. Within Earth’s orbit and beyond, the commercial sector is pioneering the future of space-based technologies and capabilities. While our space expertise is rooted in government applications our engineering teams are shifting to meet requirements for cost-effective and reliable space timing solutions, a recent example being a LEO communications satellite constellation. We don’t anticipate the commercial space sector slowing anytime soon, and with that growth we’ll continue to develop innovative solutions to help our customers overcome their unique challenges.

    Quantic Wenzel Associates Blog Graphic Celebrating 30 Years in Space Commercial LEO CubeSat
    Pictured: Commercial LEO CubeSat

    Our team has achieved so much since our support of the GEOSAT Follow On satellite program in 1993, and we are grateful for the assistance of all the individuals who helped make us a trusted name in the electronics industry. Our success in space is one that has been 30 years in the making, and we look forward to another 30 years of success! 

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