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.“