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

Januar 2018

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.

Fotos: MTG Artist Impression (©/Source: OHB website
Fotos: S4 Instrument (STM) with MLI during vibration test at IABG in 2017 (©/Source HPS-DE)
Fotos: STM MLI during manufacturing at HPS-PT in 2017, here: sewing part (©/Source HPS-PT)