Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ILA 2018: Traveling into space – safely, quickly and cost-effectively

10.04.2018

Low Earth orbit increasingly resembles an overcrowded junkyard. Disused satellites, burned-out rocket stages and thousands of pieces of debris produced by collisions – all these things pose a threat to infrastructure in space. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new radar system and other technologies to give spacecraft better protection against space junk. And that is not all: By virtue of an agile small satellite, the scientists are now also making access to space quicker and more cost-effective.

Scraps of wreckage whizzing around present a serious danger to everything that moves in space. To avoid this debris, it is important to know where it is located.


The small satellite ERNST is roughly the size of a shoe box and carries an infrared camera for Earth observation.

Fraunhofer EMI

“Using the new GESTRA surveillance radar, it is possible to detect objects and debris in low Earth orbit up to 3000 kilometers,” says Helmut Wilden, Team Leader for Multifunctional RF Sensor Technology at the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques FHR in Wachtberg near Bonn. While GESTRA is able to scan large areas of space around the clock, the radar system TIRA observes individual objects more closely.

“GESTRA monitors the expanses of space to establish whether – and indeed how many – objects there are. TIRA can then produce an image of the individual objects, enabling them to be analyzed in more detail,” explains Jens Fiege, Head of Internal and External Communications at Fraunhofer FHR. Moreover, with its sensitive antennae, TIRA can detect objects from just a few centimeters in size and larger, enabling it to measure their trajectories with high levels of precision.

Vulnerability analyses and smart design

When collisions with debris are unavoidable, robust materials and smart designs help protect satellites against serious damage. The new PIRAT software from the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI, in Freiburg calculates whether the satellite design or individual components would withstand a collision. To this end, PIRAT factors in the flight path of the planned mission and the particle impacts to be expected in that region.

Combined with the experimental simulation of collisions, the researchers at Fraunhofer EMI create fact-based vulnerability analyses and protection concepts. “PIRAT makes it possible to determine the failure probability of individual components – even inside the satellite – if a piece of space junk pierces the external wall upon collision and spreads out as a cloud of fragments,” explains Dr. Martin Schimmerohn from Fraunhofer EMI.

“Through the clever placement of components and the adding of thin protective layers, you can find a safe design with minimum impact on the overall system.”

Small satellite with 3D-printed component

Thanks to innovative Fraunhofer technologies, it will not only be safer to travel to space in the future, but faster and more cost-effective too. In the form of ERNST, scientists at Fraunhofer EMI have developed a small satellite that is lightweight, reliable and multifunctional, which will make it possible to slash development costs and time-to-orbit.

“Generally, several small satellites ride piggyback with large launch vehicles – this allows even small groups of researchers with limited financial resources to carry out tests in space. In research, this is an important step forward for us,” says Thomas Loosen, Head of the Fraunhofer Space Alliance Administrative Office. Although small satellites cannot transport any heavy payloads, they can be interconnected to form larger constellations, enabling them to provide services such as global Earth observation coverage in high quality.

When carried into orbit in 2021, ERNST will be equipped with an infrared camera for Earth observation. Interestingly, the camera is mounted on a special bracket known as an optical bank, which was manufactured using metallic 3D printing technology.

3D printing methods afford new, almost unlimited design freedom as well as shorter production times. Before now, they have been used very limited in the space sector on account of the stringent safety and quality standards. With the ERNST nanosatellite, the researchers at Fraunhofer EMI now have a test platform at their disposal to demonstrate this promising technology of the future.

We will be presenting the ERNST nanosatellite with infrared camera at the ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25 to 29, 2018, at the Joint Fraunhofer Booth No. 202 in Hall 4. There, we will also be exhibiting models of the GESTRA and TIRA radar systems, demonstrating the PIRAT software and much more. Our experts will be on hand for questions, interviews and detailed explanations.

Weitere Informationen:

https://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2018/april/traveling-into-space...

Tobias Steinhäußer | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Further reports about: EMI ILA TIRA infrared camera satellite small satellites

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight
24.04.2018 | Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM)

nachricht Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018
23.04.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme ISE

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>