HPS Space News
D-Orbit (Italy) and HPS (Germany, Romania) agree on flight for
ADEO on ION Satellite Carrier in June 2021
After 6 years of development, including a zero-G parabolic campaign and a first test flight end 2018 with Rocket Lab’s ELECTRON, HPS signed on 30.04.2021 the contract with D-Orbit for the flight of the ADEO-N, named „Show me your Wings“, on the space logistics company’s orbital tranportation vehicle ION Satellite Carrier. The launch of the „Wild Ride“ Mission will take place already summer this year from a launch site in USA.
ADEO, the world’s only industrial NewSpace drag sail of its kind for the multiple accelerated return of retired satellites, is available from HPS in different versions tailored to the size and weight of the spacecraft in question. In this case, it is one of the smallest versions, weighing less than one kilogram, with dimensions of only 10x10x10 centimeters and a sail area of 3.6 square meters. It has been integrated directly into the ION platform at D-Obit now, mid May. ION is a space vehicle that can transport satellites in orbit and release them individually into distinct orbital slots. At the end of the nominal ION-mission, in front of its “eyes” of the integrated cameras, the ADEO braking sail module unfolds, shows its „wings“ and leads ION to residue-free disposal by incineration in the atmosphere much quicker than without the sail. The first 100 km of descent will be monitored intensively.
HPS CEO Ernst K. Pfeiffer is convinced that ADEO came at exactly the right time to promote sustainable NewSpace development by avoiding the threat of apocalyptic space debris scenarios, despite rapidly growing constellations. In this context, Pfeiffer emphasizes the excellent R&D support provided by engineers and test facilities of the DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen, as well as the various economic development support contracts and grants provided by ESA, DLR and the Free State of Bavaria.
The implementation of the technology developed by HPS’s NewSpace Team at Munich headquarters was largely supported by the hands of engineers and technicians of the Romanian subsidiary and Romanian workshops. This is now, according to Pfeiffer, our clear advantage having all in one company: heritage from institutional space, a tailored „internal start-up department“, a steadily growing house in Bucharest and several trustful development and production partners. New and expanded challenges to innovation and manufacturing are already waiting.
According to Renato Panesi, co-founder and CCO of D-Orbit: „We are very happy to have a chance to work with HPS on this project: sustainability in general has always been a relevant aspect of our identity, and with HPS we share a common vision aiming to a sustainable access to space. Being able to help HPS to test a new and innovative technology like ADEO to help control the increment of space debris is a point of pride for us. To HPS is reserved the grand finale of the mission and, while we are going to „enjoy the ride“, we are really looking forward to it“.
Test of LEA´s arm a full success
Europe´s innovative deployable antenna technology takes the next hurdle
With the successful test of the Deployable Assembly Arm (DAA), which connects a Deployable Reflector Assembly (DRA) to the satellite, just completed at INEGI, the European LEA consortium led by HPS has cleared the next hurdle in the technical realization of Europe’s new antenna technology.
The 5m long DAA consists of 3 hinge mechanisms and 2 HDRMs (both by RUAG Space Germany), Release Mechanisms (by Arquimea, Spain), three CFRP tube segments (by INVENT, Germany), Metal Fittings (partly by HPS Romania), Deployment Control Electronics & EGSE (by von Hoerner & Sulger). Focus of the tests have been the verification of a) the functional full deployment (which takes in total 25 min.), b) a high pointing accuracy of the arm and c) the verification of the mathematical thermo-elastic models.
INEGI (Portugal) is the main partner for the arm deployment test and a good partner of HPS for over 13 years now. INEGI was responsible for the 0-g-simulation Test Stand and the Thermo-elastic Distortion Test Stand. Despite the pandemic and all restrictions the teams could manage this progress with highest motivation and closest possible contact between the INEGI/HPS team on-site in Porto and the HPS-engineers in Germany. HPS is responsible for the DAA and also for the implementation management of the whole LEA-activity. The total LEA-team encompasses 15 partners from 7 countries; the program started in the framework of H2020 in November 2017. The arm deployment test and the TED-test (thermo-elastic distortion) was one of the last tests of this H2020 activity.
The next step – starting still in March – is the environmental test (vibration and thermal vacuum) of the full LDR-Subsystem (Reflector, Arm and HDRM, all connected), which will be performed at INTA in Madrid, Spain.
“LEA-X5” (5m reflector diameter, 5m arm length, X-band application for Earth Observation and Telecommunications) is meanwhile seen as one of the precursing technology developments for the current Copernicus CIMR Mission.
Manfred Krischke and Peter Müller-Brühl take over still available minority shares
Renowned tech and space entrepreneurs join HPS Munich
It was sealed with a short signature ceremony on March 17, 2021: Manfred Krischke and Peter Müller-Brühl are now co-partners of the leading German space company HPS GmbH, Munich.
Last year, the specialist for technically sophisticated and innovative mechanical-, thermal-, and antenna-subsystems prevailed against all competition as the consortium leader of a group of fifteen space companies from seven countries, and with the order for the development and production of a self-deploying 8 meter arm- and reflector-subsystem for earth observation, the 100 Million Euro limit broken for a single project.
In addition, the company is, under the management of the main managing partner Dr. Ernst K. Pfeiffer, in a worldwide race to develop an automatic return system (so-called de-orbiting) for disused satellites and rocket parts; options for the self-deploying decelerating sail ADEO in various sizes are already being accepted from all over the world. And finally, HPS Munich, just like the subsidiary in Romania, is well positioned in conventional business with project orders from the areas of telecommunications, space exploration, earth observation and security, despite all the adversities of the corona situation. HPS remains in the possession of German space enthusiasts: in addition to the new investors and main shareholder CEO Pfeiffer, the HPS group of shareholders also includes a private investor and four senior employees. In addition, there is a small participation by another space SME.
“This mixture of ‘New Space’ and conventional ESA, DLR and EU business is a solid basis for long-term sustainable business success”, Krischke is certain: “At HPS, courageous innovative genius and many years of experience come together for what is feasible. That is the formula for success of HPS. “Peter Müller-Brühl sees great opportunities in the potential of HPS: “Similar to Clean-Energy, Clean-Green-Space will very soon also become a global socio-political demand in view of the tens of thousands of planned satellites space debris is already an important topic for many people. With the deorbiting solution from HPS, we will bring sustainability to the space industry”.
Last but not least, these prospects are reflected in the company’s value. HPS does not give exact figures, however, HPS CEO Pfeiffer notes: “We see it as a great honor that Messrs. Müller-Brühl and Krischke, as experienced space entrepreneurs, decided to engage themselves in HPS, especially because of the high potential for increased value recognize via the NewSapce or commercial space line from HPS that we – I am sure – will lift very quickly together with our new members of the ‘HPS family’.”
Indeed, Krischke and Müller-Brühl are highly experienced high-tech and space managers – Kayser Threde, RapidEye, Daimler, GreenCom Networks are just a few key words from their professional careers. What they have in common is the founding of Cloudeo AG as the largest independent platform for satellite-based geodata and applications. In addition, both are active as members of the supervisory board of Mynaric AG, the world’s leading technology provider for satellite-based telecommunications via laser, another “Shooting Star” in the German space sky.
Arm and Reflector of LEA-X5 Successfully Mated to Form Complete Subsystem
Fifteen companies – mostly SMEs – from seven countries and one goal: a deployable 5-meter X-band-antenna as a preliminary development for the CIMR project, developed under the European H2020 program (2017-2021). For the first time ever, such a complete subsystem (HPS) has now been successfully assembled in Europe from the reflector- (LSS) and arm- (HPS) assemblies. Previously, the test deployment of the arm and reflector – each individually – had already been successfully passed.
LEA-X5-Subsystem is now at the premises of the consortium´s highly reliable test partner INTA in Spain, where vibration tests for the subsystem are on the agenda in the presence of the LSS- and HPS-teams. In a third round of testing, the subsystem will have to prove itself capable of withstanding the conditions of the thermal chamber.
The next complete subsystem-hardware in this context – the CIMR LDRS-EQM – will be assembled end 2023.
With the key technology behind LEA-X5, the continent is decisively expanding its independence from non-European sources.