Space
Exomars TGO Structure (Source: ESA.int)

Exomars TGO Structure (@esa.int)

Top performance in space applications has been a key part of INVENT’s activities since its foundation. The Space business unit is one of our main areas of application of the company’s products: lightweight composite structures.

Thanks to its many years of experience, its broad range of machinery and its certified quality management system, we are well positioned to develop, qualify and produce sophisticated hardware for spacecraft.

The product spectrum ranges from metal and monolithic fibre composite structures through to complex multi-material structures and their integration and qualification. Perfect synergy: the in-house machining department can manufacture the required metallic parts from materials such as titanium, invar or aluminium.

Space technologies are developing fast. In order to keep up to date, we collaborate with many partners in ambitious R&D projects. These projects focus on material development, design, 3D printing, multifunctional structures and testing of functional demonstrators and prototypes.

Destinations (Total 58)

  • LEO
  • MEO
  • GEO
  • L2
  • Mercury
  • Solar System
  • Ryugu (Asteroid)
  • Jupiter
  • Mars

INVENT Parts in Space

Products

Flat structural panels, based on CFRP or aluminium face skins and honeycomb cores, are commonly used structural elements of spacecraft. Our product portfolio for prototype and serial production covers the following structural panel characteristics:

  • CFRP or aluminium face sheets
  • min. face sheet thickness 0.1 mm
  • dimensions 4 x 2.5 m
  • heterogeneous honeycomb cores
  • bonded structural doublers
  • hot and cold bonded inserts (various types)
  • grounding provisions
  • surface coatings (optical, thermal, electrical)
  • suitable for high temperature applications

References:

  • ExoMars TGO
  • Sentinel 4
  • Solar Orbiter
  • eROSITA
  • ELECTRA
  • Galileo FOC
  • SARah
  • FormoSat-5
  • Heinrich Hertz
  • MTG

Primary spacecraft structure items or units are commonly mounted and supported by further, smaller components: so-called support or tertiary structures. We provide:

  • Development of individual design solutions
  • GFRP/CFRP and metallic (Al, Ti, Invar) brackets
  • Isostatic mounts
  • Surface coatings on metal & CFRP (thermal, optical, electrical)
  • Sub-assemblies

References:

  • ExoMars
  • MTG
  • Metop-SG
  • eROSITA
  • Herschel
  • EnMap
  • Bepi Colombo
  • SWARM
  • MicroCarb

Cylindrical structures such as booms, struts, cylinders are another key design element of spacecraft design. For these types of products we can provide:

  • CFRP & GFRP struts with metallic fittings
  • Full-integral CFRP struts
  • Booms (up to 3.5 m length in 1 piece)
  • Monolithic central cylinders
  • High flexibility w.r.t. materials, layups and sizes
  • Suitable for extreme (hot & cold) temperature applications

References:

  • Metop-SG
  • JUICE
  • MTG
  • EDRS-C
  • ExoMars TGO & Rover
  • eROSITA
  • Solar Sail
  • LEA

Dissipating heat or thermally isolating certain components in a space environment requires dedicated thermal hardware such as radiators or support structures with adjustable thermal conductivity. Typical product characteristics are:

  • High conductivity materials: aluminium, copper or highly conductive CFRP (K13 fibres)
  • Low conductivity materials: invar, titanium, GFRP
  • Monolithic parts or sandwich structures
  • Heterogeneous honeycomb cores in sandwich
  • Surface-mounted and embedded heatpipes
  • Structural and thermal doublers
  • Thermal surface coatings

References:

  • ExoMars TGO
  • eROSITA
  • Sentinel 1
  • Grace FO
  • TerraSAR-X
  • Tandem-X
  • Herschel

Instrument structures, consisting of sandwich panels, struts, CFRP/GFRP/metal brackets, etc., provide the structural support for the electrical/optical equipment of the instrument. We have considerable experience in the assembly of structures and can provide:

  • In-house manufacturing or procurement of all structural components
  • Structure assembly, alignment and verification up to 3m size
  • Joining techniques adhesive bonding, bolting and riveting

References:

  • eROSITA
  • Sentinel 4
  • Sentinel 5 / 5P, MWS
  • Metop-SG (3MI)

Spacecraft antennae consist of various electrical and structural components. We have many years of experience with structural RF hardware and can provide:

  • CFRP reflectors
  • Low CTE CFRP/CFRP sandwich design
  • solid reflector sizes ~Ø 2.4 m
  • CFRP waveguides in series production
  • Gridded antennas
  • Antenna booms
  • Metallization of composite parts (via subcontractors)
  • Structure assemblies

References:

  • TerraSAR-X
  • Tandem-X
  • EUCLID HGA
  • Exomars Rover
  • Heinrich Hertz H2KAR
  • verschiedene ESA Artes Studien

Demanding spacecraft structures, e.g. antenna reflectors or optical benches, require special materials in order to comply with their requirements. We developed a carbon fibre honeycomb with low CTE and high stiffness in order to improve the thermo-elastic stability of these structures significantly. The key features of CCORE® are:

  • Low outgassing
  • High stiffness
  • Compatible with vacuum (venting capabilities)
  • Different configurations (materials) available as commercial product
  • Datasheet (download)

Dipl.-Ing.
Christoph Tschepe

+49 531 24466-20
CHRISTOPH.TSCHEPE(at)INVENT-GMBH.DE