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HPS Space News


May 2019

HPS-consortium wins ESA´s LEOB challenge

Second step taken towards European technological independence regarding large deployable reflectors

The European consortium of 17 partners out of six European countries initiated and led by HPS GmbH has won the prestigious ESA contract for LEOB, the Large European Reflector for Earth Observation. The call had been initiated by ESA´s Earth Observation directorate in 2018.

The HPS consortium, including LSS Germany and RUAG Space Germany, won against severe competition from Italy, Spain, and the U.K.. Total budget amounts to 5 million €; taken together with contract number one on the development of a large deployable reflector out of late 2017, the budget to develop this critical technology now amounts to 12.5 million €. Future mission targets include geological changes, monitoring of vegetation, communications, Big Data, Internet of Things, and sciences.

Kick-off was on April 15th, 2019, the project will conclude with a tested Engineering Model exactly two years later in April 2021. It is the last precursor project before the development of a flight model for two future Copernicus missions: CIMR with a 7-8m reflector, operating in L- through Ka-band, rotating on top of the satellite at a speed of ten turns per minute, and ROSE-L with 12 meters of diameter, operating in L-band.

Precursing ESA-technology programs and LEA out of Horizon 2020 had laid the foundations for this great success.

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April 2019

HPS announcing  crucial milestone set for Europe´s own large deployable reflector subsystem (LDRS)

Large deployable antenna reflectors are among the critical space technologies most urgently needed in Europe in order to drastically reduce the continent´s dependence on goodwill, knowhow, and supplies from the United States. Therefore, back in fall 2017 the EC decided to co-fund in the fame of its Horizon 2020-programm the 7 million € development-project LEA (Large European Antenna) of a consortium with 15 partners out of six European (D, SP, PT, SE, DK, FR) countries under the implementation leadership of HPS, Germany, among them also LSS GmbH (Germany) and RUAG Space Germany. A special cooperation between HPS and Northern Bavarian entities has already led to the development of the central component, the „European Space Mesh“; it will in future be produced in Bavaria. Now the project has taken its crucial milestone when it passed the Critical Design Review (CDR) in April 11-12, 2019, and is heading towards the final stage of its test campaign from February through August 2020. In exchange for the opportunity to gain flight heritage HPS offers the first product, LEA, for free to any customer worldwide.
Major specs of LEA are: deployable reflector aperture at 5.1 meters with a 5.6 meter long deployable arm; a mass of just 100 kilo including reflector, arm, hold-down-and-release-mechanism, harness, thermal hardware, operating frequency: X-band. The stowed volume is as small as 2.6 x 1.2 x 0.6 meters.
This development is not only important in general, but serves also as a baseline for two potentially next Copernicus missions at the horizon with 8 and 12 meter reflector subsystems. The whole development program of LEA is based on precursors undertaken within the framework of ESA technology programs.
For more information on LEA please klick: www.welea.eu.

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November 2018

Dragsail technology demonstration mission NABEO-1 (ADEO dragsail family) successfully launched
into space on Rocket Lab’s Electron #ItsBusinessTime

On the 11th of November at 4:50am Central European Time, the HPS GmbH developed NABEO-1 dragsail technology demonstrator  was launched into space onboard the Rocket Lab Electron rocket #ItsBusinessTime. This dragsail is a means to passively remove satellites from highly congested Low Earth Orbit regions after their mission life without the need for the spacecraft to be still alive.
With a dragsail area of 2.5m2 deployed from a cubesat sized box (<1U: 10cm x 10cm x 10cm) the NABEO-1 dragsails fit right into the ADEO-N dragsail class for cube and nanosatellites. Further developments for dragsails for larger missions (ADEO-L for 100-500kg satellites) are currently undertaken at the ESA GSTP/CleanSpace activity ADEO which will lead to a qualified dragsail Protoflight Model in 2020 with a follow up In-Orbit Demonstration Mission right after.
The opportunity to fly the NABEO technology demonstrator on the #ItsBusinessTime mission was offered by Rocket Lab (Huntington Beach, CA, USA / Auckland, New Zealand) and Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation (Pasadena, CA, USA) via Ecliptic’s Hosted Payload Program (HPP), with NABEO-1 serving as a pathfinder for demonstrating the Electron rocket’s hosted payload capabilities. The NABEO-1 subsystem development at HPS GmbH was co-funded by the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology. The foundations for the dragsail technology have been laid in 2017 by joint research activities between the DLR Institute for Space Systems (Bremen), Fraunhofer Ernst Mach Institute (Freiburg), and HPS GmbH (Munich).
The #ItsBusinessTime rocket was launched from Rocket Lab’s Launch Complex 1 at the Mahia Peninsula on the North Island of New Zealand. The NABEO-1 subsystem was attached to the kick stage (3rd stage) of the Electron rocket and stays on the kick stage for its deployment which was commanded 2 hours intro the flight. Currently, the team at HPS GmbH is waiting for a confirmation of the dragsail deployment with the help of the Falcon Telescope Network who will also try to investigate the de-orbit behavior of the kick-stage with the attached dragsail via their optical telescopes.
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October 2018

IAC 2018: Stronger Role of SME in Value Chain without Alternative

At the occasion of the Public Day at the world´s largest space congress IAC this year in Bremen ESA invited the heads of space industry from Europe, America and South Adrica to discuss the crucial question that will probably dominate the ESA Ministerial Council in 2019: Which role and participation need SME to take in the value chain, and how can respective goals be reached?

ESA, represented by administration director Eric Morel de Westgaver, addressed specifically tendencies in new space formats towards vertical integration schemes of production under one roof.  This stands in sharp contrast to all positions taken by ESA-procurement policies designed to strengthen the solid role of SME.

Dr. Ernst K. Pfeiffer, CEO of HPS GmbH and spokesman of the large central German SME association emphazised the importance of ESA´s latest moves towards strengthening the role of SME in the value chain and invited the CEOs of present LSI, like Nicolas Chamussy, Head of Space at Airbus Group, Marco Fuchs, CEO of OHB, and Lockheed-Vicepresident Lisa Callahan to direct discussions about the promotion of SME-roles in space production. A solid and balanced industrial space ecosystem, according to Pfeiffer, is not an end in itself. It is a fundamental pillar to strengthen competitiveness through flexibility, innovation power and speed also for the LSI. And, as for institutional customers, promoting SME means nothing but cultivating a maximum level of competitiveness in large space projects, since decisive competition takes place exactly and only on the level of SME.

Most participants agreed that also new space is not going to change that elemental condition. Quite the contrary: the stronger tendencies towards commercialization grow, the higher the need for a competitive and clearly identifiable SME-landscape in space. Promoting this is consequently one of the major policy lines of ESA-procurement and as such without any alternative.

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September 2018

HPS: On the Fast Track Towards Success
3 million more for next-stage development of deorbit device ADEO

With the support of the German Space Agency delegation HPS has been awarded a 3-million Euro GSTP-contract with ESA for development and manufacturing of a large passive dragsail version of ADEO with presumably about 25 squaremeters in size. The goal of the activity is the delivery of a flight ready protoflight model prepared for an in orbit demonstration mission as early  as 2020. Final design and size – on the basis of a market analysis currently undertaken– will be frozen in December 2018.

Like projects on system level, for example, ARIANE, GALILEO and COPERNICUS, ADEO on the subsystem level is classified as one of Europe´s „lighthouse projects“ in space, since

  • a solution for fast deorbit of satellites especially from the very crowded LEO orbits at 300-750 km perigee is the absolute prerequisite for sending future single satellites and even whole constellations of short-lived satellites into space in the first place
  • ADEO by HPS is Europe´s top chance to gain and keep the globally lead position on the emerging world market with a critical technology ensuring the continent´s independence in space.
  • ADEO will in the end address the market commercially and consequently create new jobs as well as contribute to yet another increase of the return-on-investment ratio of public funding in space.

While a 2.5 squaremeter ADEO-N test version is waiting in New Zealand to go on its „Pride of Bavaria“-mission on top of the Electron rocket (#ItsBusinessTime of Rocket Lab USA), this second development – ADEO-L – represents an upscaled version of just 10 Kilo mass and 25 squaremeters enabling passive de-orbiting without the need of any extra propulsion. Due to its virtually unlimited variability and scalability ADEO can be applied to return dead satellites of any size and mass. For example, the current version supported by ESA (and DLR) will reduce the time for disposal of a 500 kg satellite at 650 km altitude from 460 years down to just 11 years, while the small version currently mounted on top of Electron could drag for example a 10 Kilo cube satellite (6U = 30cm x 20cm x 10cm) down from a 500km orbit in 77 days instead of 26 years.

The large version is planned be applied as a protoflight model to a 200-1000kg satellite with an In-Orbit Demonstration as early as 2020. The In-Orbit Demonstration planning phase has already started and HPS is looking among other things for satellite providers that would take the PFM onboard their missions free of charge.

The ADEO subsystem is designed, assembled and tested by HPS as prime contractor of ESA and supported by eight subcontractors, 5 of them being SMEs. Main subcontractors are DLR institutes Bremen and Braunschweig and RUAG Space Germany (formerly HTS).

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June 2018

Pride of Bavaria

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Just a few weeks before the launch of „Pride of Bavaria“, the space test mission of the nano-version of the space sail system ADEO for fast deorbit of decommissioned satellites, Bavarian minister of economy Franz-Josef Pschierer paid a personal visit to HPS, the Munich based driver of spacetech innovations. Founder and CEO of HPS, Dr. Ernst K. Pfeiffer, explained the ADEO-system designed to avoid space debris – a unique development which has been funded by Bavaria – and also introduced other important product lines to the minister: reflectors for antennas serving earth observation and telecommunications projects in space, which today are the European benchmark in high frequency data transmission, thermal and radiation protection systems, large deployable antennas, and a high-precision mesh-net for the reflection of antenna signals – developed by HPS and produced in Hof, center of the Bavarian industrial „textil triangle“. (Links to tv-coverage/interviews: https://www.sat1.de/regional/bayern/videos/die-sendung-vom-25-05-2018-ganze-folge)

On Saturday, May 26th, the HPS-crew took the ADEO flight model plus a spare to the launch site in New Zealand. ADEO will be launched end of June aboard an American ELECTRON rocket of RocketLab (link: : http://spacenews.com/rocket-lab-reschedules-next-electron-launch/; https://www.rocketlabusa.com/)

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May 2018

Rocket Lab reschedules next Electron launch

LOS ANGELES — Rocket Lab announced May 25 it has rescheduled the next launch of its Electron small rocket for late June after correcting a problem that delayed an April launch attempt.

That launch, dubbed “It’s Business Time” by the company because this is the first commercial Electron launch after two test flights, is now scheduled for no earlier than June 22 (U.S. time) from the company’s New Zealand launch site. Four-hour launch windows, opening at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time, are available daily through July 5.

The company had planned to carry out the launch in April but postponed the launch after detecting a problem with a motor controller for a pump in one of the rocket’s nine first stage engines. At the time of that delay the company hoped to reschedule the launch for May, but diagnosing the problem took longer than expected.

“During the wet dress rehearsal we saw some really weird behavior in one of the motor controllers,” Peter Beck, chief executive of Rocket Lab, said in an interview. “We couldn’t quite explain it. It was one of these faults that had a really non-obvious root cause.”

Beck said that the company decided to stand down until they could find and correct the motor controller problem. “The fix was actually relatively simple,” he said, not elaborating on the technical details. “It’s a really a change to process rather than to hardware.”

Part of the rocket is already back at the launch site, he said, with the rest arriving by May 28 to begin pre-launch preparations. Beck said that the company made no other changes to the rocket while correcting the motor controller issue.

Rocket Lab did use the delay to add two more satellites to the vehicle. One, Irvine01, is an educational payload developed by the Irvine CubeSat STEM Program, an organization that includes six high schools in Southern California. The other is NABEO, a payload developed by High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH that will test a deployable drag sail that can be used to deorbit satellites.

Beck said that Rocket Lab was already in discussions about flying those satellites on a later mission when the opportunity opened up to include them on this launch. The company has been building up capabilities to quickly do the necessary analysis for integrating payloads on its rockets.

Those payloads join three others previously manifested on the rocket. Two are Lemur-2 satellites from Spire and one is a satellite built by Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems for GeoOptics. All the payloads will be launched into an orbit of 250 by 500 kilometers at an inclination of 85 degrees, after which a Rocket Lab kick stage will circularize the orbit.

Despite the delay, Rocket Lab is still planning to reach a cadence of one launch a month this year. Beck said that the next launch, for NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services program, will be “pretty close on the heels” of this launch, but the company hasn’t announced a launch date for that mission yet.

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Rocket Lab says its third Electron launch, called “It’s Business Time,” will be delayed a few weeks because of a problem detected in a recent wet dress rehearsal. © Rocket Lab

April 2018

HPS Gestão e Engenharia, Lda, European Spacetech player with New Ownership

Leading Engineering Portuguese FREZITE Group is Building up its Activity on the fast Rising Space Market.

Effective 20th of April 2018 the European HPS‐Group hands over its subsidiary “High Performance Structures Gestão e Engenharia, Lda” (HPS Lda), Porto, to the leading Portuguese technology‐group “FREZITE”. The German “High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH” (HPS GmbH) had founded HPS Lda back in 2007 and developed it to one of Europe´s first class addresses especially in the field of tailor‐made insulations (MLI, Multilayer Insulation) for satellites and instruments.

The decision reflects the firm conviction of both industrial groups involved that HPS, Lda will profit from growing now even faster and that the envisaged future cooperation presents a win‐win situation for all of the three parties, keeping its renowned flexibility advantage to its customers.

The Portuguese FREZITE Group follows its clear strategy of fast and significant growth as well as for focused diversification in high added value technologies. With HPS Lda it expands its up to now terrestrial product portfolio into space – a field that especially in Portugal represents a strongly growing national as well as export market. FREZITE Group is a set of engineering companies acting on the industrial technologies and began its activity in 1978 with the aim of producing and selling precision and high‐tech tools and systems for wood works, plastics, composite and metal materials. Today the Group is present with its 500 employees directly in more than ten countries spread over the world, supporting demanding industrial processes of its customers. This background will give a considerable push to its new member HPS Lda especially when targeting the markets of “NewSpace” and for spinoff terrestrial products. FREZITE Group will, at its new subsidiary, invest into facilities, manufacturing‐, and test equipment in order to drive with this expansion especially HPS Lda´s innovative product‐lines of MLI, composite based technologies, and deployable masts. Additional growth in high qualified staff will help to even further accelerate processes as well as to broaden the services.

That given, HPS GmbH, Munich, will, with an even more powerful engineering and manufacturing partner in Portugal, drive the company´s profile as developer and supplier of high performance thermo‐mechanical subsystems, now at a significant higher intensity. The additional funds generated through the sales of shares in HPS Lda will be used, among others, to boost with massive investments the company´s two largest fields of innovation, the dragsail subsystems for clean deorbiting of satellites at the end of their life circles and the deployable large antenna‐reflector subsystems for telecommunications and earth observation missions. Also, the traditional antenna portfolio of the company will be widened. On international level, HPS GmbH plans to push its Bucharest‐based subsidiary “High Performance Structures Inovatie si Dezvoltare S.R.L.” (HPS S.R.L.) even faster than originally foreseen to become one of Romania´s space market leaders, for example in the area of mechanical satellite equipment.

The name HPS Lda will be changed still this year. FREZITE, HPS Lda and HPS GmbH are looking forward to the new challenges that the space market brings to both companies.

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March 2018

Integration and Tests at IABG: Two Huge HPS Spaceprojects Hitting the Home Stretch

Inside the facilities of Europe´s highly renowned IABG-space testcenter in Munich these weeks in March 2018 the logo of HPS is almost everywhere.  With HPS Germany and HPS Portugal two out of three sites of the European specialist for space subsystems are running simultaneously integration and testing campaigns to qualify their contributions for two major European space projects: the EUCLID mission and the  strategicly important development of an extremely precise large antenna reflector made in Europe.

EUCLID is an ESA mission to map the geometry of the Dark Universe. The mission will investigate the distance-redshift relationship and the evolution of cosmic structures by measuring shapes and redshifts of galaxies and clusters of galaxies out to redshifts ~2, or equivalently to a look-back time of 10 billion years.

In order to perform this job that has never been done before in space HPS Lda of Portugal has been assigned by the German SME Spacetech (STI) one of the the missions´s challanging task to develop, produce and integrate highly efficient MLI for the thermal insulation of spacecraft´s 4m tall sunshield (EUCLID-SSH). In addition, in order to enable a fluent assembly process of the whole sunshield, the responsible teams of HPS Portugal have developed a reliable MGSE, an “Integration and Turning Stand” that allows turning the sunshield at 180 degrees  and later also the Integration of solar arrays.

In total, the HPS-Group holds six contracts for special contrubutions to ESA´s huge EUCLID project. Among others and besides the MLI-part for the sunshield, the Ka-band antenna reflector assembly (EUCLID-ARA) has been contracted to HPS Germany; the Qualification Model is currently in the final assembly process.

At the same time at HPS´ long standing partner´s IABG facilities outbaking-, thermal cycling-, thermo-elastic deformation-, vibration-, and acoustic-tests are under way for the newly developed 2.4-meter Q/V-band reflector of HPS Germany on behalf of ESA.  The project was launched in 2014, based on a history of that specific HPS-technology reaching back to beginnings in 2003. The design was developed by HPS, the manufacturing and assembly is performed together with its 10% shareholder INVENT. Among the outstanding and innovative features of the reflector are an extremely well balanced relationship of weight and eigenfrequency, very little deformation tolerance in space, applicabile for „big data“-projects in New Space, the business field of the future in space.

While the current testing and integration processes at IABG will be finished by April, a row of several new projects – some of them in the range of multimillion euro-budgets – are waiting for the teams when they return to their premises in Porto and Munich. To mention just three: MLIs for ESA-missions on instrument- and satellite-levels, the new Ka-band antenna for the Heinrich-Hertz mission (contracted by TESAT on behalf of the customers OHB and DLR), and a large deployable sail module for de-orbiting of satellites after its life-time.

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Artist Impression: Copyright ESA

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Februar 2018

DORA-Spaceborne Doppler Radar Concept to drive European leadership in climate monitoring

– Innovation by HPS Germany and Portugal on demand of the European Space Agency ESA –

One of the most fundamental preconditions to understand climate change is the provision of reliable precision data about the behavior of factors affecting and influencing climate and weather phenomena. For meteorologists and climate researchers wind is one of those most decisive factors – however, even after more than a century of professional and scientific studies executed from positions on the ground and airborne among others one question still needs to be answered: Do winds follow the logic of a certain „structure“ underlying this phenomenon, and how can that „structure“ be described? Systematic research may well lead not only to a better theoretical understanding, but also to practical solutions towards the predictability of impacts that directly concern safety and wellbeing of humans on the ground, on the water and in the air.

The European long-term lighthouse program in space called „Copernicus“ foresees a huge number of missions dedicated to finding answers on those questions from space. One of potential future missions named “CIMR” foresees the use of a rotating 8m-deployable reflector subsystem, for which currently ESA is requesting proposals for a Phase A/B1.
Another advanced potential mission concept needs a 3m rotating shell reflector cluster subsystem measuring winds in cloudy regions with 50km horizontal and 1km vertical resolution on a swath width greater than 800 km. Before even planning a mission like that a completely new technology is needed. The pre-development has been entrusted to HPS (Germany and for the breadboarding-part, Portugal) back in 2015. Within time and budgetlines HPS successfully came up with a solution of a conically scanning Doppler radar with the following characteristics:

  • Polarization diversity
  • Pulse compression (for higher resolutions of targets)
  • Frequency “hopping” (jumping from one frequency to another 94 GHz +/- 0,25 GHz).

The design of the new conical scanning antenna is compatible with the fairing of Europe´s lightweight-launcher VEGA. The 3m-antenna is to rotate on top of the satellites at the speed of one round every 5 seconds and all electro-magnetic waves are focused in a 2 mm diameter wave-guide entry. Most critical section of the subsystem is the subassembly of two secondary reflectors and rotating tiny feeds in W-band. Therefore ESA agreed for a breadboard concept architectured by HPS Germany, designed in detail, manufactured and assembled by HPS-Portugal and tested at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen.

The results:

  • The accuracy (around 10 µm RMS) of the free space part of the breadboard has been reached by HPS Portugal
  • The proposed antenna system is fully compliant with the system requirements
  • The RF tests on the breadboard have given very good results.
  • Cooperation among all partners, especially those involved in the breadboarding activity has been Excellent.

The whole team responsible for the latest technological breakthrough of Europe consisted of:

  • HPS Germany as Prime
  • Thales Alenia France as LSI for system inputs and instrument specification
  • University of Leicester for the science part
  • HPS Portugal for breadboard/ strcuture assembly as main subcontractor with the largest portion of the budget
  • SWISSto12 for RF-parts in 3D-printing technology.

Europe´s ambitious Copernicus program constantly needs innovations and even disruptive developments to reach its goals. HPS (Germany and Portugal) has become one of the principal suppliers of technological breakthroughs on demand.

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© HPS (breadboard pictures)
© University of Leicester (Mission Animation)

Januar 2018

Copernicus Sentinel-4: Europe´s Lighthouse Project in Space Takes Shape

HPS Portugal Ready Now for Manufacturing  the Original Flight Model´s Insulation (MLI)

Based on a budget of nearly seven billion euros “COPERNICUS” is one of the three most ambitious and advanced space programs orchestrated by the European Commission (EC). “Sentinel-4” is one of the cornerstones to this program. It consists of two payloads to be launched on Europe´s third generation of Meteosat-satellites with a clear mission: observing the earth with special focus on climate and climate change monitoring.

At the heart of the new Copernicus technology is an optical state-of-the-art camera operating in the ultraviolet, visible and near infrared spectrum. Engineering and design of the payload are under way since 2013.

At that time Europe´s industrial prime Airbus Defence & Space (Germany) alongside its subcontractor OHB (Munich, Germany) selected HPS (Munich, Germany and Porto, Portugal) as one of the leading experts for multilayer insulation (MLI) in an open Europe-wide competition under best practices-criteria; HPS is specialized on and perfectly equipped for design and production of extremely clean MLIs for optical space instruments.

The contract covers two complete flight models of MLI for the Copernicus satellites, including almost one hundred blankets in each set at sizes ranging from 5×5 cm to larger than 1×1 meter. The qualification model had been delivered to OHB already in summer 2017, so that there is now the green light for the expert-team of HPS in Portugal to start manufacturing of the original flight models. They will be delivered to OHB in summer 2018.

Besides managing the steadily growing demand for top quality MLI, HPS has been selected lately as the leader of a European consortium for design, engineering,  and manufacturing of one of the most urgently needed new European space technologies, the deployable large European space antenna (LEA). This contract in the frame of H2020 program of the EC alone has a budget volume of five million euros. Along with the steadily increasing demand for MLI made in Portugal, HPS Lda. is currently expanding its workforce in the area of highly qualified Portuguese engineers and technicians by twenty percent.

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Fotos: MTG Artist Impression (©/Source: OHB website

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Fotos: S4 Instrument (STM) with MLI during vibration test at IABG in 2017 (©/Source HPS-DE)

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Fotos: STM MLI during manufacturing at HPS-PT in 2017, here: sewing part (©/Source HPS-PT)

December 2017

EUCLID: ESA-Project to Search for Dark Matter and Energy takes Crucial Step

HPS Germany receives STM-acceptance for first model of the central antenna unit

December 2017

EUCLID: ESA-Project to Search for Dark Matter and Energy takes Crucial Step

HPS Germany receives STM-acceptance for first model of the central antenna unit

Albert Einstein is supposed to have said that only two things are unlimited: human stupidity and the universe. Concerning the universe, however, he was not sure, because the central power of gravity rather supports the contraction than the expansion of matter. Meanwhile, and based on theoretical models only, scientists are pretty certain that indeed there must be a third and even stronger power than gravity in the universe, counteracting its effects: A dark energy field, making up for 68 percent of all energy in the universe, supporting its unlimited expansion. Even more, it is believed that about 80 percent of matter in the universe consists of something that nobody has seen, yet: Dark Matter, that makes up for 27 percent of energy density in the universe, while Baryonic matter – the stuff that everything is made of that we know – contributes just five percent. Finding out about both is the target of EUCLID, the new space telescope of the European Space Agency ESA.

On June 27th, 2013, ThalesAleniaSpace Italy (TAS-I) has been assigned the task to coordinate the development of the spacecraft which will orbit the sun from 2020 to 2026 at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from earth in order to 3D-map the Dark Matter of up two billion galaxies.

EUCLID is going to work with two instruments covering the visible and the near infrared domains.

Measurement results and stored telemetrical data will be sent to the ground station through a central adjustable antenna with a diameter of just 70 centimeters using K-Band (26 GHz) to transmit up to a max of 850 GB during four hours per day. The telemetry data are going to be transmitted via X-band; EUCLID itself is also controlled through X-band.

The Spanish subsidiary of ThalesAleniaSpace, TAS-ES, ordered the complete set of design, analysis, manufacturing, integration and testing of the K-band antenna structure assembly at the European antenna-specialist HPS Germany – the company that is highly renowned in Europe and beyond since more than 12 years for successful design and production of ultra-precise antennas for spacecrafts and satellites; absolute reliability of the EUCLID-ARA (Antenna Reflector Assembly) is simply one of the central preconditions for the success of the whole mission – a mission that is run by a consortium of almost 1,000 scientists from 100 institutes and 13 European countries plus even one from the United States. All images from both instruments on board will be transmitted via this one central antenna.

The HPS-design for the EUCLID-antenna is based on a special, highly conductive carbon fibre technology to keep the antenna extremely light, precise and robust in an environment that is characterized by widely changing temperatures at 1.5 million kilometers from earth; the antenna has to keep up reliable service out here for a mission duration of six years.

HPS has executed an  detailed test campaign to verify design and technology of the reflector. The antenna proved to withstand thermal cycles and vibration tests, not only keeping the desired accuracy, but in parts even surpassing the specifications required for flawless data transmissions . To make clear what that means in practice: the permissible geometrical production tolerance here is lower than 50 µm, equivalent to the diameter of a human hair, while the acceptable degree of the antenna´s focal pointing tolerance due to temperatures between -45 and +135 degrees centigrade in space is limited up to just ten thousands of one angular degree. To put that also into perspective: this is like observing from earth the deviation of two points which are actually just 70 kilometers away from each other on the moon.

In addition, the extremely good relation of mass (4.5 kg) to rigidity (> 150 Hz Eigenfrequenz) is yet another special and valuable quality of this HPS antenna technology.

Back in May 2017 HPS delivered the first model of the K-band antenna reflector assembly, now in December it received its formal „STM-Acceptance“. Two more models follow in 2018, one of them will be the original one for the mission flight.

HPS is one of the few companies in Europe able to develop and deliver highly precise antenna reflectors. Among others, currently a reflector with 2.4 meters diameter (Q/V-band) is in production, while the qualification model of another Ka-band antenna for the German Heinrich Hertz-mission just has been successfully tested. The company´s portfolio ranges from 0.5 to 2.5-meter reflector antennas as well as for large deployable antennas from 5 to 20 meters. With this special knowhow HPS safeguards Germany´s position in the world´s top league of space antenna specialists.

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Photos: © ESA / © HPS GmbH

October 2017

LEA – A New Chapter in Europe´s Declaration of Non‐Dependence in Space

Authored by the HPS – the „M“ in European Space SME

„Technology“ means „knowledge how to solve problems by applying technical solutions“. In the absence of abundant natural resources technology is nothing less than the key to self‐determination and liberty as the highest societal value in a free world.
Therefore, the European Commission (EC) dedicates with high priority comprehensive programs to …“  

More information can be found in the LEA_Press_Release_1  and in the article of Space Intel Report

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October 2017

German Space Agency (DLR) Awarded TRISTAN-C Contract to Thales Alenia Space in Germany (TAS-DE) with HPS as Subcontractor

On 4th of August 2017 the German Space Agency (DLR) agency has awarded the TRISTAN-C activity to Thales Alenia Space in Germany, aiming at the development of a new material for electronic housings to foster the use of COTS electronics in space. As referencecase a high-speed on-board computer electronic equipment of TAS-DE was chosen. The kick-off took place on 4th of September at the agency in Bonn. HPS Germany has been contracted for the development of the electronic housing.

With this contract the German Space Agency DLR takes Thales Alenia Space in Germany on board its Component Initiative to develop and realise innovative space technology for increased competitiveness.

The first ideas date back in 2005 when the use of CFRP was considered for electronic housings and HPS had been contracted by ESA for a related technology study. In the meantime HPS has performed several developments on CFRP electronic housings for different applications and in contract to different customers. In each contract different targets have been in focus (thermal, structural, electromagnetic shielding, radiation shielding, production process); TRISTAN-C now combines all of them in parallel.

Although the similar thermal expansion of CFRP electronic boxes simplifies the mounting on the CFRP panels of the satellite, the major innovation is the development of a new hybrid composite material. It balances the mass saving against improved space radiation shielding while solving also the thermal and electrical conductivity issues.

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The project is promoted by the DLR Agency with funds of the Ministry of Economy and Energy based on an act of the German Federal Parliament under the support code 50YB1703.

July 2016

European HPS-Group first Enterprise to Receive EN 9100:2016-Certification

Quality first beyond borders

Letterheads, websites, publications: The claim of the midsize European space company is everywhere: „HPS – The Team to Trust“. Since June 27th now, this claim is even officially backed by the award of the first certification according to the strict rules of the brandnew „DIN EN 9100:2016 Aviation, Space, and Defence Quality Management Services.“ Not only that HPS, headquartered in Munich, is the first company ever in Germany to receive this high ranking confirmation – it is also a breakthrough for the whole group, because the certificate covers all of its three European group members, in Germany, in Porto (Portugal) as well as in Bucharest (Romania).

 

The certification was performed by the certification body AirCert GmbH, based in Ottobrunn near Munich (www.aircert.org), operating all over Europe and even overseas and in the far East. AirCert has specialized for the high end aerospace business and consequently made a big effort to be one of the very first entities in Germany to become authorized by international authorities for the new EN9100:2016 standard.

While the certification audit took seven working days to clearly review that the space group guarantees the same highest possible quality-management at all sites beyond borders, the preparations for this next great step after the certification of HPS in Germany and Portugal according to the 2008-rules of ISO 9001 took more than one year and an investment well above 100,000 Euros. The new EN9100 certification rules are by far more detailed and specific about the specification of core processes, traceability of supply chains and working processes, strict in the area of management processes and explicit about the requirements on key performance indicators, facilities, tools, and equipment as well as on awareness and compliance – the latter bearing the undeniable proof that the European space business world can serve as a shining example of sharing the same values when it comes to serving the customers with quality first.

„HPS- The Team to Trust“ – rarely has a space company´s communication claim been more seriously substantiated.

Mai 2016

European HPS-Group Growing

With new subsidiary in Romania now present in three countries 

Even before the end of a strong year 2015 the top-management at the headquarters of the European HPS-group in Munich, Germany, had set the course towards expansion; it took just a few months until on May 3rd, 2016, the Romanian subsidiary „High Performance Structures Inovatie si Dezvoltare S.R.L. (HPS – RO)“ opened its gates as the third member of the HPS-Group.  Owner of HPS-RO is the German High Performance Space Structure Systems GmbH (HPS-D), whose main shareholder, Dr. Ernst K. Pfeiffer, is also the founder and CEO of all company members of the group. In addition, further managers, employees as well as strategic investors hold shares in the German and Portugese HPS companies.

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HPS-RO will cover the need for additional capacities of the group in the fields of engineering, development, secondary and tertiary structures, as well as MGSE (mechanical ground support equipment). Suppliers and partners in Romania are highly renowned companies, institutes, and universities specialized on mechanical precision manufacturing, welding, material- and structure characterization, process verification and testing. Final assembly will be carried out by HPS in Bukarest. 

HPS-RO has taken residence in „Sector 2“; the place is close to the local subway, just three kilometers from the city center, 20 kilometers from the international airport Otopeni and almost directly adjacent to the large traffic arteria of the country that connect Romania tightly with Western Europs webs of logistics.

The Romanian company starts with a core staff of 5-8 project managers, engineers, technicians and other specialists, headed by Astrid Draguleanu, herself an engineer. This move takes the HPS group beyond the threshold of 60 highly motivated members of the „Team to Trust“, as the company slogan states. The Romanian core team is planned to double in numbers as fast as possible. This will help to surpass the target mark of 100 employees of the HPS group in Europe even quicker than it was announced for 2020 by CEO Ernst Pfeiffer just two years ago.

The reason for the steady and strong growth the revenues of which are – as a company principle – immediately reinvested in new technologies as well as in lateral growth and, accordingly, in jobs – is that the company has successfully established its position as one of the very few medium-sized subsystem specialists for the European – and will be so soon  – on non-European space markets. At an early stage the entrepreneur had realized that it will be just a matter of time that commercial structures will rule the space business, too. That, in consequence, means that it will take larger midsized companies to help the large system integrators reduce their vertical manufacturing integration by delivering complete subsystems and assembles in order to give room for a stable and manageable chain of value adding from the smallest part to the final product.

„Space is a growing business“ says Pfeiffer, „it develops along the lines of increasing commercial demand on markets like satellite based television, communications, and navigation, while at the same time there is a stable need for high end space technologies in service of science as well as of governments securing borders and observing earth, oceans and climate change. It is just like in the automotive branch: The dominating labels realize their added value to a great extent on the basis of the quality of cost effective subsystems. The stronger the growth of the mark, the better the chances for the best on the next level, who are also big enough to manage the coordination of many suppliers of single parts.“

Numerous discussions with politicians and managers from countries that had in the beginning been opted for at HPS headquarters have finally led to the decision in favor of Romania: “Romania is among the countries that on the one hand have the largest need to catch up with Western economic standards of living, on the other hand Romania indeed has outstanding universities and top-level capacities of engineering and quality standards.  In addition, the country has a long tradition in aeronautics and aerospace: The first jet aircraft wasdesigned and constructed by the Romanian engineer Henri Marie Coandă as early as 1910. Progress in Romania will therefore take place in big leaps, not in small steps. All it takes is a series of little pushs, and one is now coming from us.“ so Pfeiffer on the outlooks for the third member of the European HPS group.

April 2016

Large Deployable Reflectors: Europe takes another step towards non-dependence in space technology

Prime HPS selected to lead network of space-SME to success

ESA has now awarded the contract for the development of „Mesh and associated carrying net for Deployable Reflector” (MESNET) to HPS. Kick-off for the project is scheduled May, 2nd, 2016. 

Large deployable antennas and their respective reflectors are a critical asset in design and production of satellites for radar- and telecommunications missions like ESA’s BIOMASS and INMARSAT’s Alphasat. Until today, this technology is not available “as flight-verified” in Europe and still needs to be procured from American and Asian sources. But, Europe wants to play a role in that growing market of radar-oberservation and telecommunications satellites.  

ESA has entrusted the functions of the subsystem prime to HPS Munich, while its Portugese subsidiary HPS lda, Porto, will be responsible for the assembly procedure and the actual assembly at a very high level of technology readiness (TRL).  

In the context of the precursor study „SCALABE“ – to be concluded in summer 2016 – HPS also acts as prime contractor for the development of a 5-meter-demonstrator of a double panthograph deployable ring, which is being designed and built by HPS´Munich based collaborator LSS. Breadboarding of critical elements has already been performed by HPS in 2014/2015 and a mesh demonstrator has already been delivered by HPS for integration. 

When in 2018 HPS will deliver the results of the MESNET-study – a vital element of ESA´s ARTES 5.1 technology program – the combination of both developments can result in a subsequent qualification model and finally in a flight model that could be ready as early as 2019/2010.

HPS-CEO Dr. Ernst Pfeiffer is confident, that Europe´s next step towards non-dependence in one of the most critical space fields will soon be taken: “The procedure to combine the capacities and outstanding abilities of specialized space SME under the prime and leadership of HPS is meanwhile a proven approach. We are certain that by 2020 ESA will be in the position to replace yet another position on the list of badly needed capabilities by `best of space`- technology made in Europe.“ 

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March 2016

The Countdown is on:  Exomars on its Way through Deep Space

To reach and land on Mars in 5,296 hours

Guarded by its Multilayer Insulation made by HPS Portugal the European landing demonstrator Schiaparelli will reach and enter the hostile Martian atmosphere at a speed of 21,000 km/h by October 19th this year, after 269 days or 5,296 hours of flight through the galaxy after a perfect launch on March 14th.

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© ESA
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© ESA
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© ESA

March 2016
Taking the Next Step in ESA´s Clean Space Initiative:

ESA-Prime HPS with SME-Consortium Ready to Build New Generation De-Orbiting Subsystem

Hardly any messages have dominated the space community´s discussions in the past two years as perseverently as these two:
– the debris from past satellite missions forms a growing threat to future endeavors in space
– the number of satellites expected to form future constellations especially on LEO is exploding since new players are discovering space as their domain – which again multiplies the problem of future debris.

So, on the one hand enormous growth of the satellite business is to be foreseen, on the other hand this business needs better rules in order to be sustainable. „Clean Space“ is ESA´s answer in general and the quest for a new, fully ecological de-orbiting sailsystem in particular.

While currently satellite manufacturers are already facing problems to comply with the 25-years-deorbiting „guideline“ without minimising the effectiveness and increasing the cost of their missions, ESA now aims to make this period as a strict requirement leaving neither ecological nor economical footprints.

Capitalizing on previous research and development in this area like the precursor project ADEO, led by the subsystem prime HPS with its consortium of DLR-institutes in Bremen and Braunschweig and the SMEs Etamax and HTS, ESA now announced its expectations for a full fledged demonstrator ready to fly by 2018 with a deorbiting time of lower than 5 years. The new project will be ignited this year and ESA´s subsystem prime HPS is expected to take this next step towards the final breakthrough in deorbiting technology, too, because:
– the current HPS precursor project ADEO, featuring a 5m x 5m deployable boom and sail subsystem weighing just 20kg, has been successfully tested on breadboard level in February 2016 and will reach design maturity for an Engineering Model manufacturing and assembly through a CDR in these days in March.
– ADEO will then already fulfill the requirements of providing sail and boom materials able to withstand the very severe Atomic Oxygen (AtOx) and Ultra Violet (UV) environment, offering scalability down to 100-kilo-satellites down from the current reference case of spacecrafts at 1-1.5 tons of weight, and of providing reliable deployment technology tested under ambient conditions and in a vaccum chamber in mid 2016.

HPS as ESA subsystem prime is aiming at the follow-on project also with its proven partners.

In parallel and as leading specialist on deployable structures and antennas, HPS Germany acts as prime contractor for Large Deployable Antennas (LDA) in cooperation with the German SME LSS, while the HPS subsidiary in Portugal is working on a deployable highprecision mast system (10-20m) for instruments weighing 100-250 kg on science missions.

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Artist Impression © HPS
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Photo © HPS/DLR