News

ETS awarded with contract for the MetOp-SG STM test campaign

29 January 2018

European Test Services (ETS) B.V. has been awarded with the environmental test contract for the MetOp Second Generation (MetOp-SG) prototype satellite.

Airbus Defence & Space SAS has contracted ETS to perform environmental tests on the MetOp-SG structural and thermal prototype satellite. The MetOp-SG satellites will orbit the Earth in pairs: one satellite series is equipped with optical instruments and atmospheric sounders, while the other satellite series is equipped with microwave instruments. Both series are based on Airbus’ Astrobus high-power satellite platforms, the prototype satellite will be a combination of the two different satellites to optimize the development time.

The MetOp-SG programme is a cooperative undertaking between ESA (the European Space Agency) and EUMETSAT (the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites). Their objective for MetOp-SG is to provide operational observations and measurements from polar orbit for numerical weather prediction and climate monitoring in the early 2020’s to mid-2040's timeframe. In addition, MetOp-SG will provide services to atmospheric chemistry, operational oceanography and hydrology.

As contractor for the Management, Maintenance, Marketing and Sales of the ESTEC Test Facilities, ETS will perform vibration, acoustic noise and space simulation tests in the frame of the MetOp-SG environmental test campaign. The tests will commence at the end of this year. Major challenges are the vibration and space simulation tests. For the vibration test on the QUAD shaker, 8 g quasi static acceleration is to be achieved on a total mass of 5 tons. In the Large Space Simulator a new motion system will be used for the first time, this system is able to simulate satellite movement and rotation as in orbit.

“The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.”

BepiColombo MTM PFM in the LSS (copyright Thales Alenia Space Italy)

BepiColombo successfully passes last environmental test

11 December 2017

BepiColombo is now heading for their departure from ETS/ESTEC and transport to Kourou after the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) successfully passed the thermal vacuum test in ESA's Large Space Simulator (LSS). During this test the MTM was not only exposed to 11000W/m2 to simulate the sun intensity close to Mercury but the four thrusters were also functionally verified by means of Xenon gas release up to 4mg/s. For this thrusters verification the LSS has been upgraded with additional cryogenic pumps to assure high vacuum during the Xenon release.
In the coming weeks the team from Thales Alenia Space Italy, Airbus and JAXA will be performing final leak tests and functional tests before packing their equipment to head to Kourou.

BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.

BepiColombo MCS PFM in the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF)

BepiColombo mechanical test campaign full steam ahead

14 June 2017

BepiColombo is now heading for their vibration test after successfully passing the acoustic noise test in ESA's large European acoustic facility. All spacecraft modules are now in stacked configuration and will be shaken to qualify for launch.

In the coming weeks the team from Thales Alenia Space Italy, Airbus and JAXA will be analysing huge data sets acquired during the upcoming vibration test. After the vibration test, centre of gravity and moments of inertia will be determined and finally the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) undergoes its final space simulation test in ESA's Large Space Simulator.

BepiColombo is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.

METOP C PLM inside LSS

MetOp C Payload Module FM3 Test Campaign at ETS/ESTEC

13 March 2017

After arrival in January this year, MetOp C Payload Module (PLM) is ready for thermal vacuum testing inside ESA's Large Space Simulator (LSS). From today the payload module will see vacuum and harsh space conditions for 3 weeks. During this period engineers from ESA, Airbus, CNES, NASA/NOOA, Thales and EUMETSAT will perform various functional tests. ETS is responsible for operating the LSS and additional thermal subsystems to supply with liquid nitrogen and Helium at 30K the instrument targets simulating deep space environment.

MetOp is a series of three satellites developed under responsibility of ESA and operated by the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). MetOp's payload module carries 11 scientific and meteorological instruments and the satellite provides Search and Rescue services.

BepiColombo MPO PFM on the mass properties measurement facility

BepiColombo mechanical test campaign started

03 March 2017

BepiColombo is now heading for their acoustic noise and vibration tests this Summer. Before all spacecraft modules will be stacked and shaken to qualify for launch, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter's (MPO) centre of gravity and inertia have been measured on ESA's mass property measurement facilities.

In the coming weeks the team from Thales Alenia Space, Airbus and JAXA is preparing each module to be integrated into a stacked spacecraft. After the vibration and acoustic tests, mass property measurements will be performed on the stack and finally the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) undergoes its final space simulation test in ESA's Large Space Simulator.

BepiColombo is Europe's first mission to Mercury and is a joint mission between ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), executed under ESA leadership.

Sentinel 2B packed into its container

Sentinel 2B completed its Test Campaign at ETS/ESTEC

28 November 2016

After its arrival mid of June 2016, the packing of the Sentinel-2B satellite last week into its container closes another successful chapter at ETS. The satellite and related equipment are now in storage before the cargo departs from Amsterdam Schiphol to Kourou in French Guiana early in January 2017.

Sentinel-2B is an earth observation satellite that is part of the Copernicus Programme. Its mission is to monitor land with a constellation of two satellites (Sentinel 2A launched in June 2015 and Sentinel-2B due for launch in March 2017) in order to provide multispectral high revisit and high resolution optical imagery of all land emerging masses and coastal areas.

As prime contractor, Airbus DS GmbH in Friedrichshafen is responsible for the design, development, manufacturing, integration and test of the satellite. ETS is responsible for the operation of ESA's test facilities.

Disclaimer: This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union and/or ESA.

Sentinel 2B (right) passing by BepiColombo MTM

Busy Summer at ETS/ESTEC

25 August 2016

Despite the summer holiday period the activities at ETS are continuing on a high level. For the first time in the company's history the ETS and the ESA test centre host a record number of eleven spacecraft at one time. This includes various flight models of the BepiColombo, Galileo and Sentinel programmes. ETS coordinates and manages the related test campaigns and operates the required facilities for customers Airbus, ESA, OHB and Thales Alenia Space Italy.

Sentinel 2B inside the Large Space Simulator

Sentinel 2B Test Campaign at ETS/ESTEC

21 July 2016

After arrival mid of June, Sentinel 2B just successfully finished thermal vacuum testing inside ESA's Large Space Simulator. Next planned test is the EMC test inside the Maxwell EMC chamber.

Sentinel-2B is an earth observation satellite that is part of the Copernicus Programme. Its mission is to monitor land with a constellation of two satellites (Sentinel 2A) in order to provide high resolution optical imagery by a Multispectral Imager.

As prime contractor, Airbus DS GmbH is responsible for the design, development and integration of the satellite. ETS is responsible for the operation of ESA's test facilities.

Disclaimer: This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union and/or ESA.

Mercury Planetary Orbiter in the Maxwell EMC Facility

BepiColombo MPO PFM successfully finishes Radiated EMC test

16 December 2015

Last week the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) flight model has successfully finished its Radiated EMC Test in the Maxwell EMC facility. The test was composed out of EMC launcher compatibility, MPO EMC auto-compatibility and radiofrequency auto-compatibility.

The MPO is ESA's scientific contribution to the BepiColombo mission to Mercury and has been developed and integrated by Airbus Defence & Space and Thales Alenia Space Italy.

In order to perform the Radiated EMC test a dedicated setup has been provided by ETS in cooperation with 'Machinefabriek West-End B.V.' This setup consists of a base frame which support the MPO multipurpose trolley including MPO and the motion / turning system for the RF transparent tower supporting the high gain antenna. With the aid of the motion system it was possible to adjust the MPO high gain antenna exactly in the required test position.

The next BepiColombo test is the Mercury Transfer Module (MTM) Thermal Vacuum and Balance Test in ESTEC's Large Space Simulator.

CHEOPS SQM in the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF)

CHEOPS SQM successfully finishes Acoustic Noise Test

09 November 2015

Last week CHEOPS SQM has successfully finished acoustic noise testing in the LEAF.

The Characterising EXOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS) is provided by Airbus Defence & Space Spain, the CHEOPS mission is a partnership between Switzerland and ESA's science programme. This mission is dedicated to search for transits by means of ultrahigh precision photometry on bright stars already known to host planets.

In a few months the PFM test campaign will start for which ETS will perform the Acoustic and EMC tests.

IXV PFM on QUAD Vibration Facility

Successful finish of IXV PFM Test Campaign

18 September 2014

The IXV PFM Test Campaign at ETS/ESTEC has successfully finished and in the next days IXV and its supporting equipment will be transferred to Kourou for launch in November this year.

Within three months mass property measurements, vibration tests, acoustic noise tests and a shock release test have been accomplished plus all kinds of functional tests to pass flight qualification.

The Intermediate eXperimental Vehicle (IXV) is a European Space Agency (ESA) experimental re-entry vehicle intended to validate
European reusable launchers. Prime contractor of IXV is Thales Alenia Space Italia SpA.

Heat Shield in front of High Flux Shroud

Solar Orbiter Heat Shield finishes Thermal Balance Test

16 May 2014

This week the Solar Orbiter Heat Shield has successfully finished thermal vacuum testing in the LSS by applying 10 times the
normal sun intensity in an Earth orbit onto the Heat Shield!
The Solar Orbiter spacecraft is being developed by Airbus Defence & Space UK under an ESA contract. Thales Alenia Space Italia
is responsible for the spacecraft's Heat Shield.