Announcement of Invitation To Tender: Equipments for Alphabus phase C/D - ALPHABUS STRUCTURAL ALUMINIUM PANELS

The ITT will address the STRUCTURAL ALUMINIUM PANELS needed for the Service Module (SM) and the Repeater Module (RM) of Alphabus platform, excepted the RM North/south panels.

The Alcatel Space / EADS Astrium Joint Alphabus Project Team in its role as system responsible for Alphabus is in the process of issuing a competitive Invitation to Tender for the following activity: ALPHABUS STRUCTURAL ALUMINIUM PANELS.

The ITT will include the following elements:

· qualification of sub-contractor in-house processes with Alphabus detail design (imposed drawing files and metallic materials),
· qualification of industrial means (manufacturing + non destructive inspections)
· Procurement of a Service Module protoflight model set (at structural level i.e. not equipped either with thermal control, or paint, or OSR etc&) and
· Long-term agreements for the Alphabus commercial phase concerning the Service Module and Repeater Module.

The selected bidder will become part of the industrial consortium for the Alphabus phase C/D and subsequent contracts related to the production of Alphabus based Telecommunication satellites.

Companies interested in bidding for the above mentioned activity should declare their interest by 19 July 2004 to:

Mr Frédéric Juchet
Contracts Officer Alcatel Space
Telephone: + 33 4 92 28 91 76
Telefax: + 33 4 92 92 30 30
Email :

Copies of this declaration of interest should be sent in parallel to:

Mr. W. Engels
Contract Officer ESA
Telephone: + 33 5 61 28 19 04
Telefax:: + 33 5 61 28 28 66
Email :

Annex : Equipment Summary Description


Main characteristics:

Blank Panels design
The Alphabus Structure is mainly composed by a mechanical assembly of aluminium panels, whose "sandwich" technology is described below. Carbon Fibre Reinforced Products panels belong to the Primary Structure and will be out of the scope of the ITT.  The sandwich technology consist in the assembly through structural bonding, of two external face sheets on a central honeycomb core. The honeycomb is always a 5056 aluminium core with several densities from 4-20 to 3-28 TBC. The aluminium type for face sheets is still under evaluation, but will be selected among ALCLAD 2024T3, 6061T6 and ALCLAD 7075T6.

Click here for larger image

Figure 1: sandwich Technology

Panels inserts and links
Panel assemblies are most of the time performed through bolted links with aluminium inserts cold bonded on panels:

- Bobbin inserts: cylindrical insert providing threaded or not hole in its centre. This kind of insert is cold bonded in a pre-hole drilled into the blank panel.
- Border inserts: small brackets having two square flanges bonded directly onto the aluminium face sheets previously surface treated to ensure the guaranteed bonding performance.

The bonding characteristics will have to be selected according the temperature range in which the performance is requested. For 100% recurring panels (mainly in Service Module), the detail definition may request to have some hot bonded inserts inside the panels, for industrialisation and performance matters.

Purpose of the ITT:
This activity is to qualify the sub-contractor in-house processes and implement some industrial means (manufacturing + non destructive inspections) for the procurement of Alphabus panels. It is expected that the major technical challenge will be to reach a high competitiveness for these panels. As the detail design is imposed i.e. dimensions, current and reinforced areas definition, metallic material references,

· The qualification of processes will deal with elementary and / or local performances
· The involved industrial means will deal with manufacturing industrialisation and Non Destructive Inspection automatisation (3D control, X-rays, Ultra-sonic etc&)

The procurement of a Service Module Proto-Flight Model set will demonstrate that objectives are fulfilled. It will not be required to deliver this set of panels assembled.

Event Date

07 July 2004
Published 27 May 2009
Last updated at 27 May 2009 - 14:04