Mark Mirelez, President and CEO
Among the several companies that develop and manufacture optical encoders for the “space marketplace,” Maumelle, ARbased BEI Precision stands apart as a leading entity. The company has been instrumental in delivering optical encoders that can support the efficient performance of ultraprecise pointing of sensors, antennas, or mirrors in satellite and terrestrial applications. The first BEI Precision optical encoder flew in space in 1962, and today more than 90 percent of the optical encoders for space initiatives have been developed by BEI Precision.
With decades of expertise in developing and manufacturing space encoders, BEI Precision’s technology, product realization processes, and the path to market have all evolved to meet the changing requirements of the marketplace. BEI Precision has created a striated optical encoder product line that serves mission-critical and new commercial space requirements to ensure rapid time to market and low risk without compromising the robustness of the technical solutions. “We provide a broad standard product line that is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution for most applications. This standard product line serves as the foundation for when we need to pivot quickly to satisfy space industry lead times,” says Mark Mirelez, the president and CEO of BEI Precision. At the top end of the product line, the BEI Precision optical encoder provides unrivalled pointing accuracy. For example, using a BEI optical encoder, clients can line up a putt from 3,034 miles away.
Further, to address the launch of Proliferated Low Earth Orbit satellite constellations to enable communications networks, BEI Precision has developed and brought to market the Tracker and Micro Kit Encoder (MKE) product lines, which leverage decades of experience in design for space and manufacturing to deliver thousands of these optical encoders a year. “These applications require robust, low cost and high-volume solutions, and that’s exactly what we deliver,” mentions Mirelez.
By leveraging its standard product line that provide a COTS or near COTS solution, BEI Precision addresses its clients’ need for rapid deployment with low technical risk. The company has also continued to refine and improve its standard product line with a spiral design cycle, maintaining cutting edge performance with low technical risk and high technology readiness level (TRL) scores. To further establish its legacy in the ‘new’ space market, BEI Precision has developed and brought to market the ARA, Tracker, and MKE product lines for space. BEI Precision’s Tracker and MKE product lines were conceived and developed for the requirements of the proliferated LEO constellations. In addition to the salient encoder performance requirements that were geared toward this market, the Tracker and MKE were designed for manufacturability.
Both products utilize surfacemount electronics and are manufactured in a workcell that makes maximum use of automation, enabling high volume, best value solutions for the proliferated LEO satellite manufacturers. “The space marketplace has evolved from a bespoke clean sheet of paper design process to a low technical risk, rapid time to launch market. Our products are all absolute optical encoders and have sophisticated alignment algorithms built into the signal processing hardware that dramatically reduces the time required to integrate onto the mechanical gimbal assembly utilized by spacecraft,” says Mirelez. The broad product line enables the customer to select the optimum solution, all supported by the alignment algorithm and more than six decades of design for space experience.
Looking at the varied product line, it is an absolute no brainer that BEI Precision is thoroughly engaged in the space sector’s pivot to LEO by leveraging decades of design expertise to satisfy the most challenging requirements.
To keep its product line fresh and on the cutting edge, the company will continue to invest in technology through the spiral development process and in the facility with automation and additional staff. “BEI Precision has diligently prepared to be a valued supplier and partner in the new ‘space’ market. We will leverage our technical expertise, manufacturing capability, and broad product line to establish win-win value solutions for our customers,” concludes Mirelez.