SEVERAL THOUSAND NOVEL HEAT PIPES ARE NOW BEING PRODUCED EACH YEAR BY BELGIAN COMPANY EURO HEAT PIPES, FOLLOWING ITS PARTICIPATION IN ESA’S EUROSTAR NEO PARTNERSHIP PROJECT.
Working with satellite manufacturer Airbus, Eurostar Neo is dedicated to developing, qualifying and validating Airbus’ next-generation satellite platform for the core satellite communications market.
Because this new generation of satellite is larger and more powerful than the previous one, it has driven demand for further innovation in thermal control technologies while answering market needs for ever improved cost competitiveness and shortened satellite manufacturing schedules.
Airbus and ESA selected Euro Heat Pipes in Belgium to provide a reliable supply of thousands of heat pipes to transport the heat from the hottest parts of the satellite to the cool areas radiating to deep space. The challenge was huge as it involved a wide range of shapes, lengths and performance specifications as well as kilometres of heat pipes needed for each Eurostar Neo satellite.
The development and preparation for such a large-scale production of a wide range of heat pipes required significant financial investment by industry. Being part of a large-scale ESA Partnership Project such as Eurostar Neo reduces the risk to industry’s investment and offers a direct opportunity for in-orbit validation.
Through this project, Euro Heat Pipes has grown its production capacity from a few hundred to several thousands of heat pipes per year. The company has also recruited several additional staff and improved its product standardisation.
The successful collaboration has helped Euro Heat Pipes to grow into a competitive, reliable, high-volume capacity supplier of a large heat pipe portfolio on the world market.
Eurostar Neo is part of ESA's ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Programme element Neosat to develop and qualify two new satellite product lines, one with Airbus and one with Thales Alenia Space, enabling the European space industry to deliver commercially competitive satellites in the 3 – 6 tonnes launch mass range. The programme includes the in-orbit validation of the new platforms. To date 12 satellites have been sold, enabling a projected return on investment for participating states exceeding €20 for every €1 invested.
Neosat is a joint undertaking between ESA and the French Space Agency (CNES) with joint programme management and contributions from several member states, including Belgium.