Index number 50 /Up-to-Date

Mechanisms’ engineering for ATHENA

ATHENA mission artistic view.

ATHENA mission artistic view.

The Advanced Telescope for High Energy Astrophysics, ATHENA, is the second L-class (Large) scientific mission in the European Space Agency (ESA) Cosmic Vision program. It’s purpose is to study the hot and energetic universe to get information on black holes and how they relate to the creation of galaxies and groups of galaxies. and it will be launched into space in 2028.

ATHENA combines a huge X-ray telescope with powerful scientific instruments that, according to the ESA, will allow scientists to study astronomical phenomena such as flashes of Gamma rays, the hot gas that surrounds galaxy clusters, the magnetic interaction between exoplanets and their respective stars, the auroras of Jupiter and comets in our own Solar System.

SENER is engineering the mechanisms for one of the two preliminary phases that the ESA is running in parallel; one led by Thales and including SENER and another that has been contracted out to EADS. These mechanisms include an instrument selector that has to move a Wolter mirror for X-rays, weighing 1,500 kg and measuring 2.5 m in diameter, or move the 850 kg instrument platform that is situated 15 m from the mirror, in three directions. The solution, control and structural behavior of these devices are critical for the ATHENA mission, and the entire design of the satellite depends on them.

Copyright SENER 2017