HAMS technology allows precise formation flying in space
– small satellites will be able to join together as one
HARWELL, England, July 10, 2015 /CNW/ - Neptec UK Limited has signed a contract with Sener of Spain for the development and delivery of Neptec's High Accuracy Metrology System (HAMS) for the European Space Agency's (ESA) Proba 3 satellite mission, tentatively scheduled to launch in late 2018.
This metrology system is an international collaboration with Neptec UK Limited as the prime contractor, and sub-contracts with Micos of Switzerland for the optical components and Neptec Canada. Sener of Spain is the prime contractor for the full Proba 3 satellite mission. The funding sources for the HAMS are: UK Space Agency, Swiss Space Office and the Canadian Space Agency.
Proba-3 is the world's first precision formation flying mission for satellites. The mission consists of two satellites, weighing 250kg and 200kg, which by precise formation flying will become a virtually fixed structure in space. While the distance between two satellites is normally several kilometers, these satellites will stay 150 meters apart during formation flying maneuvers and maintain their positions to micrometer accuracy. The Neptec HAMS metrology system will ensure that the distance accuracy is maintained.
The primary purpose of the mission is that one satellite will block the rays of the sun while the second satellite will study the sun's corona using an eclipsing mechanism. This creates conditions that are normally only viewed during a solar eclipse. This will be the closest view of the corona that has ever been achieved.
The potential long-term benefit of the Neptec HAMS technology to future space missions is that small satellites could be launched from earth independently and then joined by HAMS technology in space to form larger structures or platforms such as very large telescopes. Precision formation flying of satellites could become a "game changer" for future structures in space.
"We are very proud to be part of such an exciting mission and look forward to working with our many international partners from our base in the UK," said Mike Kearns, Managing Director of Neptec UK.
Franco Ongaro, Director of Technical and Quality Management for ESA added, "With the Proba 3 project, a brand new industrial collaboration has been set up between Neptec UK and Micos (Switzerland) to provide the high-accuracy metrology system which is a very advanced technology at the heart of the Proba 3 Formation Flying System."
About Neptec (UK) www.neptecuk.com
Neptec UK was established in Harwell, Oxfordshire in October 2015 and is part of the Neptec Group of companies. It's mission in the UK is to become the recognized leader in the UK of space qualified laser based sensors and IR cameras.
About Micos (Switzerland) www.micos.ch
Micos Engineering GmbH is an advanced engineering company that focuses on optical instrumentation for the European space market. They deliver (pre-) design, engineering, AIT (assembly, integration and testing) and services for optical measurement systems.
About Sener (Spain) www.sener.es
Sener (Spain) develops components and systems for the flight segment in its three areas of activity: precision mechanisms, guidance, navigation and control (GNC) systems and optical payloads.
About UK Space Agency www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-space-agency
The UK Space Agency is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.
About European Space Agency www.esa.int
The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe's gateway to space. Its mission is to shape the development of Europe's space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.
About Canadian Space Agency www.asc-csa.gc.ca
The Canadian Space Agency is committed to leading the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.
SOURCE Neptec UK Ltd.
For further information: Mike Kearns, Managing Director, Neptec UK, +1 44 1235 838 544, [email protected]