The future of drones

The aviation and technology sectors have undergone a revolution with new applications and technologies related to unmanned aerial systems, commonly called drones (UAS / UAV / RPAS). Not only because of the new possibilities of business and commercial activity that have opened in the civil market, both for large companies and for, especially, SMEs traditionally linked to the aeronautical sector, but also for new uses and applications that are already developing for this type of aircraft.

Agriculture, security or industry are just examples of some of the productive sectors of our economy where drone use is already being experienced and applied, but they are not the only ones and there will be many more. In CATEC we have been working since the beginning in research and development to promote the transfer of this technology to companies, as well as with civil and regulatory authorities in a new framework that helps to define and regulate flights and uses with this type of aircraft.

In this issue we talk specifically about two new milestones related to drones in which we have participated successfully and that make us look optimistically at the future of this sector. On the one hand, we have welcomed into our ATLAS Center in Villacarrillo, Jaen the first U-Space demonstration with drones in Spain, held under the DOMUS project, which has been a preliminary test before DOMUS final demonstrations to be held in September to testing a complete integration of drones into the airspace, participating with other aircraft. On the other hand, in recent months we have hosted different tests of the EGNSS4RPAS project for the standardization of unmanned aircraft at European level, which has sought to demonstrate the usefulness of the European positioning systems Galileo and EGNOS for drone operations. These tests have included a recent one carried out in the urban environment of the same town of Villacarrillo, given the proximity to our ATLAS center, and which have been another important milestone as it was the first in all of Europe that has followed the methodology included in the new European regulations of drones, recently approved .

In conclusion, we are in a sector of continuous technological advances that make the future of drones very promising, and that it must be integrated into the new national and Andalusian strategies for the aerospace sector development, although linked also to other sectors-, and articulated as a key element to continue promoting the growth of the productive fabric and the increase of the competitiveness of the industry and the economy in Spain and Andalusia.

Joaquín Rodríguez Grau
Director of CATEC


CATEC achieves another important project for the space sector and will manufacture new components for the JUICE scientific mission

Our Center and the CiTD company, along with Airbus and the European Space Agency, will develop new structural fittings in 3D printing for the spacecraft, which will be launched into space in 2022

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CATEC and the Spanish engineering company CiTD confirm their commitment to the space sector and will develop along with Airbus and the European Space Agency (ESA) a new generation of structural fittings manufactured using additive manufacturing technology (3D printing), for the new space science mission JUICE. This mission, led by ESA, aims to develop a space probe that aims to study Jupiter and its satellites: Ganymede, Europa and Callisto.

Within the objective of optimizing the structure of the ship led by the main contractor Airbus Defence & Space and ESA, a campaign to reduce the weight of the mission has been defined, which supports the integration of structural components developed in additive manufacturing. This is where the team integrated by CITD and CATEC will play a fundamental role, thanks to the bet on the application of additive manufacturing to overcome this great challenge to Jupiter. Both entities will be responsible for developing new structural fittings that, thanks to this new technology, allow to lighten their mass by 50% compared to their equivalents developed by conventional technologies.

"We are applying a revolutionary design methodology to achieve structural components with better performance compared to those developed with conventional manufacturing technologies, increasing their margin of safety, and with a weight reduction that goes between 40 and 80%, which will reduce the weight of the mission in approximately 10 kilograms ", explained Marta Garcia-Cossio, Managerof the Aerospace division of CITD.

For his part, the Head of Materials & Processes Department at CATEC’s, Fernando Lasagni, says that it is "to manufacture about 13 components in a high strength aluminum alloy. For this we have to develop a very detailed manufacturing plan, including from the control and verification of the raw material to the inspection methods of the components, in this case based on computed tomography". The consortium is completed by other institutions such as the Basque technology center CTA, responsible for the tests both at the material and component level.

The CiTD and CATEC team is composed of Alejandro Stewart, Lidia Hernandez and Marta Garcia-Cosío (CITD), and Sergio Gonzalez, Fernando Lasagni, Antonio Periñan, Carlos Galleguillos, Javier Santaolaya, Alvaro Herrera and Laura Berrocal (CATEC). The JUICE mission will be launched into space in an Ariane 5 launcher in 2022 and will reach Jupiter in 2030, where it will spend at least three years making detailed observations.

February 1st 2019
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