Andalusia looks at Space

The trajectory and experience of the Andalusian aeronautical industry is known, in general, by our society, especially after the great growth that has been experienced in the last two decades thanks to the development and participation in large aeronautical projects and programs in the heat of Airbus, and that have allowed us to diversify towards other clients and global markets and towards activities and businesses with more added value, with less tradition in our region.

That knowledge and know-how, that experience, technological capacity and competitiveness that our industry has acquired over time must now be transferred to those areas that have great potential for the future, and that, in some cases, are considered sister sectors, as is the case with Space. In FADA-CATEC we have always been clear, and if Andalusia, and Spain, in general, want to look with ambition towards the future, it should enhance its presence in the space sector, one of the most valuable and technologically charged within industrial and economic activity, and also has always been a tractor or engine for important innovations in other productive sectors.

From our Center we have been working on the ground for many years to encourage the R&D of our companies to move towards this field, and thanks to the collaboration in various projects with the industry, we have already achieved that some of the new technologies that will mark the nearest future, such as additive manufacturing or 3D printing, whether applied in the Space sector, both in launchers and in satellites.

The recent edition of the World Space Week has served to emphasize the possibility that Andalusia has to bet on this industry, and to create a space to position itself as a strong region in technological capacity and competitiveness within this sector. Likewise, it has allowed us to verify that there is a great receptivity on the part of the aeronautical and technological companies for participating in the space sector, and also a strong interest of the administrations and institutions so that this presence is a reality as soon as possible and is translated into productive activity and generation of wealth and employment for our economy. Next year 2019 Seville will be the European capital of Space, an event that will undoubtedly bring new opportunities for business, investment and technological collaboration in this field, and that we should not let go. The challenge is there, now it's time to work together to achieve it.

Joaquín Rodríguez Grau
Director of CATEC


CATEC and CiTD develop components in 3D printing for the new CHEOPS satellite of the European Space Agency

Both entities have developed a set of bionic flight parts with a weight reduction of 50%, which allow the connection to the lifting system of the solar panels of the satellite

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CATEC has collaborated with the Spanish engineering company CiTD in the design, development and manufacture of new aerospace components for the new CHEOPS satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) that will be launched into space at the beginning of 2019. In particular, they have developed parts key of the mechanism that allows to connect the lifting tool of the solar panels that has said satellite.

Due to the processes of assembly and integration, the tools of this mechanism are blocked after the assembly, which supposes an important penalty for the satellite weight. For this reason, CATEC and CiTD have developed a set of 8 pieces of bionic flight through the technology of additive manufacturing (3D printing), which has led to a 50% reduction in weight and an optimization in the design of said component.

The pieces have been manufactured in the facilities of our Center, which has also been responsible for inspection and verification, while CiTD has been responsible for the definition and justification under ESA standards. The entire set of parts was delivered to the Spanish delegation of Airbus Defense & Space, which is the main contractor of the CHEOPS satellite and which completed its integration in recent weeks.

Fernando Lasagni, head of the Materials and Processes Division of CATEC, indicated that the manufacture of this piece means "a further leap in the real application of additive manufacturing to the aerospace sector, where our center has become an international reference thanks to the production of pieces of this type both for the space industry, in shuttles and rockets, and for the aviation industry, already integrated into civilian and military aircraft ".

CHEOPS (Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite) is the first scientific satellite of the European Space Agency (ESA) developed and manufactured in Spain and its objective is to study, for at least three and a half years, the movements of exoplanets that orbit around nearby bright stars beyond the Solar System, and analyze its characteristics.

October 30th 2018
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