Advanced manufacturing technologies, especially in the field of additive manufacturing, matured to a level compatible with space applications. They are well suited to space hardware since they are applicable to unique parts or small series. Nevertheless there is a need to better understand their optimal implementation within design and manufacturing chain. This is the purpose of the AMM project (Advanced Manufacturing Methods) coordinated by CSL with prestigious partners such as Sirris (B), Almaspace (I) or Thales Alenia Space (F). The activity is focused on the 3rd case study related to a complex sun sensor housing incorporating a PCB directly printed within the metal body.
CLAUDE COLLINS COOLER
Many optical detectors on board of science satellite require low temperatures for proper performances. Different technologies have been developed, allowing cooling down to 0.1 [K] in space. The 4 [K] stage is up to now, made with low efficiency Joule-Thomson coolers. To increase the efficiency, it is necessary to extract energy from a compressed gas, and to allow this, a piston expander can be used. (ESA ITT Brochure 2008) Following-up the very early stage of the innovation definition, CSL was awarded with a specific ESA TRP contact by October 2012 related to the proposed original design. Various concept validation works were conducted in the 2012-2013 timeframe, paving the way to a functional prototype to deliver by the next period.
FabSpace 2.0 est un projet européen (Horizon 2020) d’Open Innovation, d’une durée de 3 ans, ayant débuté en mars 2016 et auquel l’ULg participe via le CSL.
Le projet implique 15 partenaires de 6 pays européens : France, Italie, Allemagne, Pologne, Grèce et Belgique. Dans chacun de ces 6 pays, un « couple » composé d’une entité académique et d’une entité économique (le plus souvent un ESA BIC) a été identifié. En Belgique, et singulièrement en Région Wallonne, le CSL travaille en synergie avec WSL (incubateur wallon des sciences de l’ingénieur), qui gère l’ESA BIC Wallonie Redu.
Microfluidics is identified by the MIT as one of the 10 top technologies which shall change the world during the next decade and opened already today amazing perspectives for health, biochemicals or fine chemicals. In that context, MecaTech and Biowin joined their interest to launch LEGOMEDIC, a four year project aiming to the development and optimization of micro reactors for the continuous flow manufacturing and purification of organic fine chemicals and biomolecules. Coordinated by UCB-pharma, this project gathers 4 industrial partners and 4 academics partners, including CSL.
This project aims to develop a network of expertise in the fields of micro technology applied to new products for biomedicine. CSL is participating with its competences and resources in the field of surface micro-texturing applied to a lab-on-a-chip demonstrator (design and realization of a low-cost, automated and highly sensitive diagnostic system) for the immunological detection of human diseases, in the framework of the in vitro diagnosis. Through a high level of automation and ease of use, the aim is to provide clinicians with a faster and more sensitive way to diagnose multiple pathogens in parallel (multiplexing of the detection capabilities), therefore eliminating the need for expensive and time-consuming laboratory testing.
The new generation of Meteosat is coming. The MTG program should guarantee access to space-acquired meteorological data until at least the late 2030s. This mission will be fulfilled by series of four imaging satellites MTG-I (hosting the Flexible Combined Imager (FCI) and the Lightning Imager (LI)) and two sounding satellites MTG-S (hosting the Infrared Sounder (IRS) and accommodating the Sentinel 4 UVN instrument) for a minimum of 20 years nominal operational lifetime. Early 2013, CSL won its first MTG related contract, associated to the Back Telescope Assembly (BTA), which is a sub-assembly of the IRS instrument on MTG-S. The BTA will be jointly developed by AMOS and CSL. CSL tasks include thermal design, optical coatings, OGSE design and optical characterization of BTA, assembly, integration and validation.
Embedded in the actual framework for the launchers, the European Space Agency (ESA) issued in 2009 the NSO charter which updated the national government’s assistance in Industrial Quality Surveillance for launcher development and exploitation. Practically, this charter requires that each ESA member state, industrially involved in the launcher programs (ARIANE, VEGA et SOYOUZ), supports a local surveillance organization to ensure the highest quality standards be maintained throughout the industrial processes. For Belgium, this activity was originally performed by the Belgian Defense, who wanted to stop it due to internal manpower constraints. ESA launched an ITT on this topic by early 2013. CSL successfully bid for the new contract. Kick-off took place by December, 6 2013 at the ESA headquarter in Paris.
Space technologies based on photonics are considered as one of Europe’s areas of key industrial competence. They have huge potential to address a number of today’s grand societal challenges, in particular health and wellbeing, climate action and secure societies.
However, this potential will be wasted if public policy fails to address the gap between space research and its application on the ground. A long-term challenge is to ensure that R&I investments exploit the opportunities offered by space (e.g. huge availability of data and signals) by ensuring that applications and services are produced to address societal challenges and that they reach the market.
Terahertz (THz) waves are located between infrared and microwaves. They are harmless and non-ionizing, they penetrate a lot of materials. The project TERA4ALL aims at promoting THz technologies towards industries and to develop innovative imaging and spectroscopy techniques. In this framework, CSL develops THz imaging techniques for detecting defects in composite materials. Mainly, techniques based on coherent imaging will be studied in order to locate defects in depths of materials.
TransNetAero is a network of organizations in six European aerospace regions and smaller countries which are working together and sharing their resources so aerospace industry suppliers in each region or country are better equipped to succeed in global markets. It melts industrial actors, research institution, and academics to make aerospace supply chain companies in each region or country more knowledgeable, more innovative, more efficient. In addition, TransNetAero will raise the profile of small regional aerospace companies working below the radar of the big aerospace clusters.
UVN (Ultraviolet- Visible- Near infrared): The Sentinel-4 mission covers the needs for continuous monitoring of atmospheric composition, in particular with respect to air quality, with a UV/Visible/Near-Infrared (UVN) sounder to be deployed on the two MTG-S satellites scheduled for launch in 2019 and 2027 respectively. UVN is a high resolution spectrometer system operating with 3 designated bands in the solar reflectance spectrum, covering the UV (305-400nm), VIS (400-500 nm) and NIR (750-775 nm) bands. The radiometric accuracy of the UVN instrument partly relies on regular in-orbit re-calibrations, over the useful spectral range, in order to determine for example the sensor gain factors and their drifts. The selected approach for in-flight calibration is based on 1°- measurements of the Sun‟s irradiance as transmitted by a diffusing device (diffuser), and 2°- measurements of a calibration lamp source. Those functions are provided by the Calibration Assembly (CAA). CSL has been contracted for the development, production and verification of the Calibration Assembly related to the different models of the UVN instrument.