STI to deliver solar arrays for Airbus OneWeb Satellites

We are proud to announce that Airbus OneWeb Satellites has placed a multi-million € contract to deliver hundreds of solar arrays for the OneWeb satellite constellation with STI. This order significantly enlarges the scope of the already successful cooperation with Airbus OneWeb Satellites on the OneWeb constellation, for which STI is already responsible for the solar array deployment mechanisms.

We consider this contract - being the largest solar array contract for STI so far - as confirmation of the competitiveness of the automated series production and in-situ process control developed at STI over the last years.

SpaceTech Airbus OneWeb Satellites satellite illustration
Illustration of OneWeb satellite (source: Airbus OneWeb Satellites)

SpaceTech-CarboSpaceTech serial production

Our teams and processes in place at both sites – SpaceTech and CarboSpaceTech – allow us to run serial production of space hardware with high-quality results, specifically for solar arrays and deployment mechanisms. In order to satisfy the increased demand for our products for commercial and institutional space missions we are currently further expanding our facilities.

Find more information about OneWeb:
oneweb.world 
onewebsatellites.com

 

SpaceTech Aerospace Respirator ASR – ventilator for the world

SpaceTech ASR 01 PR 2021 3 9

Designing a rapidly available ventilator to reduce the low number of continuous mandatory ventilation was the goal by SpaceTech GmbH in April 2020. The mechanical, electrical, physical know-how and on-site manufacturing possibilities offered a great basis for developing a product outside of our comfort zone - outside of the space industry. In combination with the connection to the faculty of medicine University Hospital of Gießen Marburg (UKGM) and Justus-Liebig-University (JLU) in Germany, we had all necessary pieces of the puzzle in place: engineering, medical know-how, testing and manufacturing to develop the Aerospace Respirators (ASR).

SpaceTech ASR 01 development timeline

SpaceTech ASR development

In summer 2020 we reached already our first milestone: The ASR was successfully tested in comparison to well-established ventilators. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the team from the UKGM and JLU, who performed the tests. In addition to being a functioning ventilator, the ASR is low-cost, lightweight, and uses commercially readily available components so that large numbers can be manufactured at the short term. We want to support the world in medical progress – especially in countries with the need for more equipment in their public health sector.

The SpaceTech ASR next milestones

Our next milestone is further development for neonatal ventilation as well as weaning. It is not enough for us to just develop a ventilator – our goal is to provide long-term support and this only works if we can offer all relevant functions.

Multi-hinge solar array deployment mechanism for Copernicus on ZeroG robot

Supported by the ESA GSTP, STI today reached the next milestone with the start of the verification process of a 5-hinge-axes solar array deployment system, as will be used for the Copernicus expansion satellites, on a Zero-g robot (called “ZeroG”). Qualification is planned to be completed mid 2021.

Solar array wings - state of the art

Efficient power generation is a key factor in satellite development: High performance satellite instruments and platforms often have high power requirements that can only be generated by big surface solar arrays. Due to limited launcher capacity and excessive loads during launch, the solar array panels of most satellites need to be stored in a small volume during launch and are deployed after separation from the launcher.
Depending on the required power the deployment mechanism contains one or more hinge axes. While single-hinge deployment mechanisms can be relatively basic spring-driven mechanisms, multi-hinge deployment mechanisms are typically complex mechanisms containing motors and cables that perform a slow and synchronized deployment of the solar array wings. Unfortunately, these designs tend to be heavy, reliability critical and expensive.

A new approach to multi-hinge deployments

After having developed, built and delivered a range of body fixed and single-hinge solar arrays, SpaceTech (STI) has started the development of a new type of multi-hinge deployment mechanisms some years ago. This development resulted in the controlled unsynchronized deployment mechanism concept relying on C-spring hinges with torque-limiters to achieve a robust deployment into a defined deployment corridor. It significantly reduces the deployable solar array wing complexity, weight and cost.

STI has successfully applied the design in several activities, both for institutional and commercial missions. Perhaps most prominently are the 1800 solar array deployment mechanisms that we deliver to OneWeb, 220 of which are already in orbit.
Half a year ago, STI delivered the first solar array with 5 hinge axes for Momentus smallest satellite “Vigoride”.
Also, mid 2020, STI was selected by Thales, Airbus and OHB to provide the solar array wings for the EU Copernicus Expansion Satellites CHIME, CO2M, CRISTAL and LSTM, also with up to 5 hinges axes, but significantly larger panels. This indicating that our designs are not only cost efficient, but also meet the highest space mission standards.

Design and verify

One of the challenges of the controlled unsynchronized deployment mechanism is to ensure a safe deployment under all mission scenarios. This requires a high level of system design understanding and modelling of the specific design and environment during deployment. In addition, the verification of such a fast deployment requires new approaches for a ZeroG test rig that is capable to provide realistic g-compensation during different deployment scenarios for a wide range of solar array wings from 1 to up to 5 hinge axes.

CarboSpaceTech's ZeroG robot for realistic multi-hinge deployment testing

SpaceTech technologies GSTP multi hinge zero gravity testing zero g robotOne of the key pieces of the puzzle to the STI multi-hinge development is the unique zero gravity testing robot ZeroG by SpaceTech's innovative daughter company, CarboSpaceTech. Unlike traditional g-compensation measures, like rigs with long cables or Helium balloons, which are severely limited in dynamic situations, ZeroG is able to actively react in real time to the movement of the test object. Thus eliminating the impact of gravity with multiple, independent manipulators – one for each of the connected solar panels.













ZeroG robot for no gravity testing of multi-hinge deployable
solar arrays

 

OneWeb Satellistes launch 4 – the revolution in space

OneWeb Satellites is about to launch the next 36 small satellites for the mega constellation, aiming at affordable global internet. Today, 18. December 2020, the lift of is scheduled for 13:26 p.m. (German time) from Vostochny Cosmodrome.
OneWeb Satellites is a joint venture between OneWeb and Airbus to manufacture low-cost, ultra- high performing satellites at high-volumes – a revolution in the space industry where in the past most satellites where one-offs and the manufacturing of some ten satellites over several years was a “high volume production”. The challenging mission of a small satellite mega constellation with about 600 satellites is becoming more and more reality. With this 4th launch there will be 110 OneWeb satellites placed in low Earth orbit.

Follow the launch: OneWeb Launch#4 Watch Party

SpaceTech OneWeb satellites CFRP boom deployment mechanism

SpaceTech’s part in the project

We are excited being part of this revolutionary project that is pioneering new value propositions in space. With S/N 1000 of the SpaceTech/CarboSpaceTech light-weight CFRP booms for the solar array deployment mechanisms, being used in the OneWeb satellites, at STI we are reaching an internal milestone of our production facilities. These CFRP booms offer maximum reliability at low-cost for small satellites, being the perfect match for OneWeb Satellites.

 

Sentinel 6 (Jason CS) launch with SpaceTech solar arrays

Spacetech solar arrays sentinel 6 satellite launchThe US-European Sentinel-6 radar altimeter mission for ocean surface topography study aims to monitor sea-level rising because of climate change. Sentinel-6 is part of the Copernicus program.

SpaceTech development

SpaceTech manufactured and delivered the solar arrays (PVA by Leonardo, panels by Airborne) for the two Sentinel 6 (Jason CS) satellites. Each satellite set consist of two body mounted and two deployable panels combined in two solar array wings.
Being four of the biggest solar arrays produced at STI, each panel measures 3.6 m length by 1.1-1.2 m width.





Sentinel-6 satellite artist image (source: NASA)

Spacetech solar arrays sentinel 6 satellite launch preparedSentinel-6 launch

After almost 1.5 years of spacecraft preparation it is time to launch!
The first satellite is scheduled for launch this Saturday at 18:17 (German time) with the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg, California, US.

Follow the launch here:
https://www.esa.int/Applications/Observing_the_Earth/Copernicus/Sentinel-6/Watch_live_Copernicus_Sentinel-6_Michael_Freilich_launch

Find more mission progress information here: 
https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-tv-to-air-sentinel-6-michael-freilich-launch-prelaunch-activities












Sentinel-6 team celebrating: Ready to fly (source: NASA)