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Euclid High Gain Antenna Gimbal

Gimbal mechanism for Euclid’s HGA.

Gimbal mechanism for Euclid’s HGA.

SENER has been awarded a new contract for the Euclid scientific space probe, after being appointed prime contractor of the Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS/GNC), one of the satellite’s most complex systems.

On this occasion, it has been given responsibility for the design, production, integration, verification and validation of the deployment and gimbal mechanism for the High-Gain Antenna (HGA), the vehicle’s main antenna, which will allow Euclid to communicate with the tracking stations on Earth for the purpose of sending scientific data.

The project under SENER’s responsibility consists of developing a precision mechanism with three axes, one for deploying the antenna and the other two for pointing. Two radio signals are transmitted through the mechanism from the satellite to the antennas. The signals are K band for the high-gain antenna and X band for the low-gain antenna. The K band rotary joint and the actuator have been developed by SENER.

Euclid is a highly relevant European Space Agency mission to study the nature of the dark universe, both its dark energy and its dark matter. To this end, the probe includes a telescope of 1.2 m in diameter allowing it to make observations in the visible and near-infrared ranges, with ample bandwidth and spectroscopy. The objective is to investigate the evolution of cosmic structures by measuring the shapes and redshifts of distant galaxies, with information covering 10 billion years of cosmic history.

EUCLID’s ROTATORY JOINT

Of special note within the SENER mechanism is the K band rotary joint. It is a component that transmits a radio-frequency signal and allows certain parts in the mechanism to rotate while others remain fast, without this affecting the optimal transmission of the signal from the antenna. The K band rotary joint is mounted inside an actuator, which incorporates a motor, a gearbox and an integrated bearings system. SENER’s development of this comprehensive product involved years producing design variations to achieve this innovative solution.

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