Thursday, December 4, 2014

Instrumentation on Churyumov-Gerasimenko (67P)

Reliable connectors for the revolutionary Rosetta space mission

Regular vistors to our pages may have noticed a certain predilection towards the exploration of the heavens. We leap with enthusiasm on any story from our automation sources which as much as hints at an involvement. Here is one such story.

Souriau has served as a trusted collaborator to the ESA (European Space Agency) and CNES (French Space Agency) by supplying interconnection components 15 years ago for the Rosetta space mission. The firm supplied various types of connectors for the flight model and is proud to have contributed to this unprecedented ESA success.

Heart-stopping moment!
Early last November (2/11/2014), Philae, ESA´s robotic spaceship successfully landed on Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko (67P), more than ten years after departing Earth. An Ariane 5G+ rocket launched the Rosetta spacecraft and the Philae lander which traveled for 10 years to reach the comet, 500 million km (310 million miles) away from Earth. This trailblazing mission will provide a much deeper understanding of solar system formation, the origin of comets, and their potential link with the origins of life on Earth.

The company contributed to the success of the mission providing an array of connectors to its end-client ESA. These connectors are typically used for power supply connection and vital signal transmission linking satellite’s sensors to the on-board computer for instance. Prior to selection, they carried out a series of tests based on ESA specifications to demonstrate its connectors were able to withstand the specific conditions set as exceptional requirements for this deep space mission. SOURIAU’s ESA qualified connectors were then selected and successfully integrated on the Rosetta mission.

The company has partnered with the ESA and the CNES for over 25 years and supported various space programs by providing high-quality and reliable solutions for harsh environments and long durations, on both standard and specific design bases. Souriau's  connectors have been used at the International Space Station to perform diverse extra-vehicular operations. In addition, Souriau' provided special harnesses for the Cassini-Huygens’ mission to Saturn’s moon, Titan, that enabled the probe to disconnect from its carrier and land after a 7-year journey through deep space.

The Rosetta space mission demonstrates Souriau's - part of Esterline Connection Technologies - ability to design and manufacture superior products perfectly suited for satellites and space exploration. True to the motto “Reliable People, Reliable Solutions,” Esterline Connection Technologies will continue to innovate while ensuring the highest reliability of its interconnect solutions for space programs. A good example is the selection of microComp®, a new generation of ESA qualified space grade connectors, on the future ExoMars rover which should land on Mars in 2018.

See also: A fascinating story: Trash to gas project to help life on Mars! (30/11/2014)

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