. 24/7 Space News .
Where space missions are born
by Staff Writers
Paris (ESA) Apr 01, 2019

Concurrent design engineering at ESA.

A high-resolution radar mission to Earth's 'evil twin' Venus, a spacecraft to detect the most powerful explosions in the Universe and an observatory for the cool, dusty cosmos to investigate the origins of stars: ESA's Concurrent Design Facility has performed feasibility studies of contending candidates for the fifth medium class mission in the Agency's Cosmic Vision science programme, planned for launch in 2032.

The Concurrent Design Facility, or CDF, looks like a flight control room, above the main suite of space laboratories at ESA's technical heart in the Netherlands. Interlinked consoles are ranged in front of a 6-m long multimedia wall, to host representatives of all space mission disciplines. However, this is not a place to steer satellites, but to create them.

Teams of experts gather here to perform initial studies of proposed future missions, rapidly establishing their feasibility ahead of follow-on industrial development. The CDF has performed more than 250 studies to date in over 20 years of operations, including numerous missions that have gone on to be developed for space such as Solar Orbiter, Athena and OpsSat.

"Concurrent engineering involves bringing together all necessary experts into a single room to work together in real time," explains Massimo Bandechhi, founder of the CDF.

Just like a mission control team, expert representatives of all spacecraft systems come together, including structures and configuration, mechanisms, flight dynamics, power, thermal control and propulsion, as well as specialists in technical risk, organisation and cost engineering. This combined team work on a design to meet the goals of the mission within set mass, cost and time limits.

"Collaboration is based on a shared software model of the mission. This model's configuration is updated as any subsystem alteration is made, showing the system-level impacts of each update to everyone at once. With all disciplines contributing at the same time and place, we tackle problems from all points of view, to turn a naturally sequential process into something more 'concurrent'."

The CDF recently performed studies of the ESA Science Directorate's three M5 mission candidates, to define the mission concepts in detail and see how they would operate in practice, identify any critical technologies required to make each mission possible and analyse their likely development cost, risk and schedule.

EnVision is a mission to fly a high-resolution radar system to our neighbouring hothouse planet Venus to detect centimetre-scale ground movement as evidence of present-day volcanic activity, as well as carrying a subsurface radar sounder and a suite of spectrometers to survey trace gases in its thick, toxic atmosphere.

The CDF study found that Venusian conditions hold consequences for the main instrument design: the radar frequency was chosen to minimise

The study considered chemical and electrical propulsion options for the spacecraft, and looked into how EnVision could take advantage of its Venus's atmosphere to aerobrake into orbit. The spacecraft would need to take account of the higher temperature of Venus orbit - twice Earth normal - with black paint, 10-layer multi-layer insulation wrapping, heat pipes and optical surface reflectors.

Thermal issues were raised for the mission's ground segment as well, with cryo-cooling proposed to maximise antenna sensitivity for enhanced retrieval of mission results. EnVision is being studied as an ESA mission with significant contributions from NASA.

Theseus, an acronym for Transient High Energy Sky and Early Universe Surveyor would detect X-ray and gamma-ray sources across the entire sky. In particular, Theseus is designed to achieve a major breakthrough in the discovery of Gamma Ray Burst (GRBs) at cosmological redshift scales.

These massive explosions from distant galaxies are believed to be caused by the collapse of supermassive stars from the first billion years of the Universe, offering insight into the very first generation of stars, and by the merging of neutron stars - the latter type of event also producing gravitational waves.

Theseus would carry an infrared (IR) telescope, a soft X-ray imager and an X-ray and gamma (or 'y-ray') spectrometer. By swiftly locating each new transient high-energy source within the infrared telescope's field-of-view - to a baseline of less than 10 seconds - Theseus will be able to characterise the properties of the host galaxy where the GRB occurred - and most importantly its distance.

The CDF study placed it in near-equatorial low Earth orbit to maximise its contact with ground stations - allowing it to raise the alert rapidly for follow-up terrestrial observations. It would orbit at sufficiently low inclination to minimise radiation exposure from the South Atlantic Anomaly, a kink in Earth's protective magnetic field.

Spica is a joint European-Japanese project offering significant improvement in far-infrared spectroscopic and survey capabilities, able to peer through the clouds of dust that typically obscure the sites of star birth.

It would operate from the second Earth-Sun Lagrange point - 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth in the opposite direction from the Sun - with a 2.5m-diameter actively-cooled telescope.

The CDF study included analysis of how Spica would benefit from the technological heritage of ESA's Herschel and Planck missions as well as on the attitude control systems needed to slew between its astronomical targets.

Options were also given for the mission's onboard data storage, communications system and ground segment, to return its findings to the ground.

Next steps
All three studies aimed to minimise the use of new technology and maximise commercial off the shelf parts, for the best combination of cost and risk. With the feasibility of all three mission concepts established, they now proceed to parallel industrial contracts, to produce detailed designs for future down selection.

Related Links
Concurrent Design Facility at ESA
The latest information about the Commercial Satellite Industry

Thanks for being there;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5+ Billed Monthly

paypal only
SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal

Space workshops to power urban innovation
Paris (ESA) Mar 12, 2019
In May, two workshops organised with the help of ESA, will foster industrial collaboration between space and non-space-based industry to boost urban innovation. The two events, one in Marseille, France, on 13 May, and the other in Brindisi, Italy, on 29 May will bring together representatives from the space sector and industries such as information technology, automotive, oil and gas, and telecommunication, to discuss cross-cultural partnerships. Representatives of industry and institutions ... read more

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

NASA defends scrapping all-women spacewalk

The Voyage to Interstellar Space

NASA Astronauts Complete 215th Spacewalk at Station

Tests Prove Out Orion Safety Systems From Liftoff to Splashdown

Arianespace Flight VS22: A fifth launch for the operator SES and its O3b constellation

More efficient satellite launch platform on the horizon

Sunrise and Phase Four partner for Next-gen electric propulsion

China's first privately funded orbital rocket fails

Results of BIOMEX, the Biology and Mars Experiment on the ISS

New evidence of deep groundwater on Mars

NASA's Mars Helicopter Completes Flight Tests

Mars Express matches methane spike measured by Curiosity

Super-powerful Long March 9 said to begin missions around 2030

China preparing for space station missions

China's lunar rover studies stones on moon's far side

China improves Long March-6 rocket for growing commercial launches

Inmarsat agrees to $3.4 bn takeover from consortium

OneWeb starts to mass-produce satellites in Florida

UAE announces pan-Arab body for space programme

Lockheed Martin develops world-first LTE-Over-Satellite System

Traveling-wave tubes: The unsung heroes of space exploration

Vector's GalacticSky GSky-1 satellite ready for launch later this year

Sun-Synchronous Orbits are Obsolete

Virtual reality enables real-time, internal view of patient anatomy during treatment

Astronomers Discover Two New Planets Using Artificial Intelligence

In Hunt for Life, Astronomers Identify Most Promising Stars

Surviving A Hostile Planet

Exoplanet satellite ready

Jupiter's unknown journey revealed

A Prehistoric Mystery in the Kuiper Belt

Ultima Thule in 3D

SwRI-led New Horizons research indicates small Kuiper Belt objects are surprisingly rare

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2024 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.