The activity of the Advanced Center of Aerospace Technologies, and the referent of the Andalusian contribution to space missions to Mars and Jupiter, reveals the entrepreneurial and innovative “strength” of Seville to aspire to the Spanish Space Agency

The mayor of Seville, Antonio Muñoz, has received today the express support of the Advanced Center of Aerospatial Technologies (CATEC) and the technological center managed by the Andalusian Foundation for Aerospatial Development (FADA) and located in the aeronáutico park in Aeropolis, a the candidacy of the city to host the headquarters of the Spanish Space Agency.

“The obvious proof of the strength of the aerospace industry in Seville is in installations like those of CATEC, where technologies and components for space missions are produced. I repeat, una prueba evident de fortaleza empresarial, tecnologia e innovatura y de participation en programas espaciales internacionales y será uno de los principales arguments que llevaremos al dossier de la candidación”, he said.

“La candidación de Sevilla se asienta sobre bases tan solidas como las que representan CATEC y Aerópolis. I and proyecto de toda la ciudad, de toda la province de Sevilla y queremos que lo sea también de toda Andalucía. Por eso, estamos aquí, en el termino municipal de La Rinconada, para vindicar el carácter metropolitano de nuestra candidada”, seguno ha abundado el regidor, quien ha recorado que se plantea una candidada desde una alliance public-privada.

Somos el centro de la industria espacial en Andalucía y aspiramos a serlo a nivel nacional. Sumamos ya más de 200 adhesiones de empresas, institucións y organismos de toda Andalucía y contamos con más de 12.000 persons y profesionales que han signado su apoyo. And for the next week, when we should present the official candidacy, we are sure that we will increase this figure”, Antonio Muñoz, who was accompanied in his tour by CATEC by his director, Joaquín Rodríguez, and the technical director, Materials and In the process, Fernando Lasagni, así como por el delegado de Economía, Comercio y Turismo del Ayuntamiento, Francisco Páez.

CATEC’s facilities total 4,500 m2 (3,000 m2 of laboratories and workshops, and 1,500 m2 of offices) and are located in the Aerospace Technology Park of Andalucía (Aerópolis), the only business space in Europe dedicated exclusively to the aerospace sector La Rinconada, Sevilla. It currently has a staff of more than 90 employees, most of whom are doctors and researchers, whose main degrees are Engineering (Aeronautical, Industrial, Telecommunication, Materials and Computer Science), Physical or Chemical Sciences.

En estos momentos están fabricando elements de un satellite que va a participar en misiones que se van desarrollar en Marte y Júpiter. In concrete terms, CATEC has developed various products for 3D printing in metal, both for aircraft, helicopters, launchers, satellites and spaceships. Along with its partners, it has delivered flight hardware for critical and non-critical components, such as solar panel supports for the QUANTUM satellite, CHEOPS satellite hardware, and a helical antenna for the PROBA3 satellite, star tracker supports for the South American satellite and finally part of the structure of the space ship JUICE that will study the frozen moons of Jupiter.

Satellite QUANTUM

At CATEC’s facilities, they designed (in collaboration with AIRBUS) and manufactured several of these pieces for this satellite. En concreto, los soportes de los paneles solares de titanium, aplicaando tecnología de impresión 3D o también llamada fabrication aditiva. These pieces were developed and delivered by CATEC in 2016, and at that moment they were one of the first ones manufactured by the technology of critical character from the structural and functional point of view, totally qualified for the space. This development process demanded an ample knowledge of technology and maturity, where it was necessary to qualify all associated processes, from the storage and monitoring of raw materials, the application of post-processes to thermal treatments, improvement of superficial finishing, mechanization of las interfaces, y finally los métodos de verificación y calificación non destructive, recurriendo en este casa a la tomografía computarizada por rayos-X.

The manufacturing additive is, precisely, one of the main lines of activity and specialization of the Andalusian technological center, in which it has been working for more than a decade, when this technology was emerging. 3D printing is one of the processes that brings major benefits to the space sector, in which weight reduction, production times and costs are important. Todos estos años de experiencia e investigación le ha servido CATEC para desarrollar más de 100 aerospaciales aplicaciones para lancadores, satellites y sondas spaciales.

Nave espacial JUICE

CATEC and the Spanish engineering company CiTD have developed with Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESA) a new generation of structural hardware manufactured by additive manufacturing technology, known as 3D printing, for the new JUICE scientific mission. This mission, led by ESA, has the objective of developing a space probe that aims to study Jupiter and its satellites: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.

If you think that there could be oceans under the surface of these satellites, therefore JUICE, the ‘Explorador de las Lunas de Hielo de Júpiter’ in its English acronym, will study the capacity of these three moons to harbor life, dealing with two topics principales del programa Cosmic Vision: what are the conditions for the formation of the planets and the appearance of life, and how does the Solar System work? JUICE has a long way to go before reaching Jupiter, having to realize different approaches to gain acceleration and sufficient power. In this form, the space probe must first undertake its flight to Venus and expose it to the elevated temperatures of the orbit, and iterate again in the sequence Earth, Mars, Earth and finally Jupiter, where the temperatures are very low.

The main problem that the space ship designers are looking to overcome is the large distance that they will have to control with respect to the Sun, as it is their source of energy and also the strong radiation emitted by the planet Jupiter. This misión supone un gran reto para la industria europea, encontrándose al límite de la tecnologia existente. Its viability depends on the optimization of each of its subsystems: energy, propulsion and structure, for extreme conditions during the journey of more than 7 years, and the operation in Jupiter.

Within the objective of optimizing the structure of the ship led by the main contractor Airbus Defense & Space and the ESA, a weight reduction campaign has been defined that supports the integration of structural components developed in additive manufacturing (3D printing ). I’m here where the team integrated by the company CITD and CATEC have a fundamental role, thanks to the bet of Airbus D&S in the application of manufacturing additive in this great reto in Júpiter. Both entities will be responsible for desarrollar nuevos herrajes estructurales que, gracias a esta nueva tecnologia, permiten aligerar su masa en un 50% respecto a sus equivalentes desarrollados por conventional tecnologiae.

TEST 3

Sener Aeroespacial and CATEC developed the telemetry and remote control antennas for the Proba-3 mission of the European Space Agency (ESA). Se trata de una de las primera spaciales desarrollada con la tecnología de impresión 3D metalica en el mundo y la primera fabricada en España, lo que supone todo un hito para el espacial espacial sector.

De este modo, se confirmed the vision of both companies that it was viable to use this type of solutions as an alternative to the manufacturing of conventional technologies in those cases where the last ones do not offer a valid solution.

The helicoidal antenna was manufactured in aluminum alloy and has been subjected to demanding verification and qualification tests, obtaining the flight permit for the Proba-3 mission of the ESA. It was rare and difficult to fabricate and qualify the antenna in 3D metal printing, with all the advantages it provides, while maintaining both radio-frequency and thermo-mechanical performance.

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