Eurostar Central Tube 3000LX Central Tube Structure

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EADS CASA Espacio is involved in the use of new manufacturing technologies in order to define new structural concepts and to improve the existing ones. In particular, the use of automated manufacturing technologies allows for a real optimisation of the composite layups, a simulation of the manufacturing process, and a recording of the actual configuration of the manufactured lay-up.

The objective of the project was to develop a new Central Tube for Eurostar 3000 LX using EADS CASA Espacio's advanced manufacturing technology. The concept employs the fibre placement technique to manufacture in a single piece a monolithic carbon fibre cone-cylinder shell.

An additional challenge in the development of this structure was to replace an existing sandwich configuration by a monolithic configuration with no impact on the rest of the satellite structure components, such that the qualification of these components would not be questioned.

The development of Eurostar 3000 LX central tube program was based in the following main goals:

  • The increase in the capability of the system from 5 Ton to 6.6 Ton,
  • The reduction of the cost of the product, minimising the development and without risk of the parts of the satellite qualified in the previous definitions and not modified during this development.

Development and qualification of a monolithic carbon fibre central tube concept manufactured using fibre placement technology for the Eurostar 3000 LX Central tube.

Replacement of a carbon fiber sandwich tube concept by a monolithic central tube without affecting the qualification status of adjacent structures.

Demonstration that a monolithic design meets all design requirements.


The new concept for the Central Tube of Eurostar 3000 has been developed with a significant improvement of performance in terms of reliability, simplicity and recurrent costs.

The use of automated fibre placement technology and a monolithic central tube concept result in a higher quality due to an accurate fibre orientation, better compaction and thickness control and a better repeatability of the final product. The productivity on repeated series is greatly improved as result of an automated process. The fibre placement process includes an initial optimisation phase made after the simulation of the complete manufacturing sequence. This allows for reductions of scrap material, detection of errors and optimum tailoring of the manufacturing jigs.

The results obtained show that the Monolithic design solution, developed by EADS CASA Espacio by using the existing Fibre Placement Process, for application in the Central Structures of Spacecrafts, can be applied - even to an existing design - without jeopardizing its performance, and is a valid alternative for existing or future satellites.


The proposed solution is based on the manufacturing of all the Central Tube structure making use of the Fibre Placement technology. This is an automated manufacturing technique that brings together the advantages of the two most common automated methods for composite materials manufacturing: Filament Winding (FW) and Automated Tape Laying (ATL).

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Fibre placement technique is used to manufacture in a single piece the cone-cylinder shell. Monolithic construction was selected for the shell, with a thoroidally shaped cone-cylinder transition. The lay-up configuration is tailored (ply orientation, total thickness, etc.) along the monolithic shell.

The proposed structure design has been established to meet all the structural requirements (buckling, stiffness, dynamic modes, strength, etc.) plus all the geometrical constraints imposed by the existing platform design.

This new Central Tube concept development was supported by an exhaustive development test campaign intended to validate the local details of the proposed design. The final qualification was acquired with a full-scale static test of the Central Tube and verification at satellite level performed by EADS Astrium.

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Program is completed.

Current status

The program has been successfully completed.

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