High Gain Antenna Gimbal (HGAG) for the rover Perseverance of the Mars 2020 mission
Only a few companies in Europe offer specialized devices supporting the installation of satellites. Thanks to the experience gathered in the missions of the European Space Agency, SENER Aeroespacial in Poland has built a substantial portfolio of MGSE products and successfully competes with the largest players on the market.
The space industry is one of the most advanced economic sectors. Through technology transfer, it strongly influences other sectors, including security and defence. Thanks to such transfers the level of innovation in the economy increases, therefore for many governments investments in the space sector are an important element of development. One of the latest trends in the sector is standardization, which means applying one solution to many different space missions. In response to this trend, SENER Aeroespacial offers a portfolio of Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE).
Standardization of MGSE equipment production is another step in the development of competence and satellite technology. It leads to a reduction of costs, which significantly increases competitiveness on the European market. It also allows for the creation of new jobs and the construction of personnel for the Polish space sector. SENER Poland is thus contributing to the achievement of not just one, but several objectives set out in the Polish Space Strategy.
The first MGSE equipment was designed, manufactured and tested by SENER Aeroespacial for the mission of the European Space Agency – Euclid, and the set of 13 equipment was the largest of its kind in Poland. Other missions for which SENER Aeroespacial designs, manufactures and tests the devices are Biomass (a global three-dimensional map of forests will be created with the data from this mission, the launch of the mission is scheduled for 2022), Electra (European, fully electric commercial platform), or one of ESA’s largest missions: JUICE, which aims to study the magnetosphere of Jupiter and its moons (launch: 2022).
For example, the devices for the assembly of the satellite structure for the Biomass mission, which were commissioned by OHB Italia, are devices for vertical transport, assembly and disassembly of the satellite panels, assembly and disassembly of the synthetic aperture radar, which is the main research instrument, as well as the radar transport container.
An important step towards the commercialization of MGSE was winning an order from OHB for the Electra mission – this is one of the first large commercial contracts in our country, won on the free market. Additionally, it does not concern a single scientific satellite, but a commercial one, which can be produced in larger numbers.
SENER Aeroespacial’s latest project is a contract with the German OHB System AG, which will develop equipment to integrate the PLATO satellite, which is being prepared for the study of extra-solar planetary systems. SENER Aeroespacial engineers from Poland are responsible for the design and manufacture of the ALD (Adjustable Lifting Device), which will be used to carry and help integrate the satellite. In many cases, ALD will work with PLM HF (Payload Module Hoisting Frame), i.e. with a frame for lifting the satellite’s load. There will also be an S/C HF (Spacecraft Hoisting Frame) – a frame for lifting the satellite, which will serve as an intermediate component between the ALD and the whole satellite or its service module during lifting operations.
– “Like all space engineering, MGSE devices also require extraordinary precision and reliability. SENER Poland benefits from the support of the SENER Group with more than 50 years of experience, but it is worth mentioning that all the MGSE know-how was created by Polish engineers. The extensive portfolio also includes experienced and competent engineering and management” – comments Paweł Paśko, Project Manager responsible for MGSE family.