LEA-X5: New Movie on the completion of the European 5m X-band LDRS
Gladly we announce with a new 20-minutes-movie the completion of the H2020-development „LEA-X5“, the 5m class European Large Deployable Reflector Subsystem (LDRS) operating in X-band.
The film itself is of course showing recent environmental and deployment tests, but it is mainly about PEOPLE, who are space engineers and space enthusiasts, and what they can achieve with combined powers and brains. These people, together with the enablers European Commission and European Space Agency, are making the achievement of „European Non-dependance“ happen.
LEA-X5 is a full LDRS-Subsystem (lead by HPS, Germany) and comprises the
- 5m diameter X-band reflector assembly (lead by LSS, Germany)
- the 5m long deployable arm assembly (lead by HPS, Germany),
- hinges & HDRMs (RUAG, DE),
- deployment electronics (vH&S, DE),
- thermal hardware (HPS/FHP).
Further partners of the H2020-consortium have been: INVENT (DE), FHP (PT), INEGI (PT), TICRA (DK), LUMA (SW), HPTEX (DE), ARQUIMEA(SP), HPS (RO), ETAMAX (DE), WSS (DE), ONERA (FR), TAS (FR), OHB (DE), Airbus (DE).
Most of the consortium members are introduced in the movie, inluding many interviews.
Take your time and enjoy the spirit of doing big things: LEA-X5 – European 5m X-band LDRS Completed (Final Report 06/2021) – YouTube
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.
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.
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.
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.
Second step taken towards European technological independence regarding large deployable reflectors
HPS-consortium wins ESA´s LEOB challenge
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.
A European Declaration of Non-dependence in Space
Dear Friends and Fans of Europe in Space,
in the name of all members of our pan-European WeLEA-consortium we proudly present a video, documenting the successful road of the development of one of the most needed critical technologies in space: the Deployable Large European Antenna (LEA).
Invented, designed, tested and manufactured by more than 15 well known space companies from 7 European countries with a total staff of more than 500 dedicated specialists, representing a truly unique team of SMEs and Midcaps, the LEA-product is now taking shape as nothing less than “A European Declaration of Non-dependence in Space”.
Thanks to the farsighted vision of both powerful institutions responsible for our continent´s future in space, the European Space Agency ESA and the European Commission EC, LEA will become an invaluable technological asset to blaze our own trail towards knowledge and understanding as indispensable prerequisites to making this world a sustainable, better place – for life in diversity, for all citizens on the globe, and for one Europe across all its internal borders.
Within the WeLEA consortium HPS Germany, as prime contractor, is responsible for the project- and technical management of the whole LEA-subsystem, the deployable arm assembly and the reflective metal mesh.