Posted on


European Space Mechanisms and Tribology Symposium
University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom
20th-22nd September 2017


Introducing Airbus Defence and Space

Airbus Defence and Space is the world’s second largest space company and one of the top 10 defence companies globally, with revenues of around €13 billion per year and approx. 38.600 employees.

Composed of four Business Lines of Military Aircraft, Space Systems, Communications, Intelligence & Security (CIS) and Electronics, Airbus Defence and Space brings together a wide portfolio to continue to meet the complex needs of its customers across the world, contribute to Europe’s defence and security, and secure Europe’s independent access to and utilisation of space.



Airbus Defence and Space Ltd Mechanisms and Coolers Group

Since delivering the first mechanism in 1976, Airbus Defence and Space Ltd continues to deliver the full scope of design, manufacture, qualification, recurring acceptance and delivery of mechanisms and later Cryo-Coolers products to satellite system, subsystem and equipment entities.

With access to the wider Airbus Defence and Space facilities, organisation and resources the Stevenage based mechanisms and coolers experienced team provides…

…for Mechanisms customers;

  • High performance, high reliability and mass efficient mechanisms to meet the exacting demands of the space industry
  • Confidence through experience gained from more than 350 mechanisms delivered for telecommunication and scientific missions
  • A reliability in product performance that is validated by 2300 years of accumulated in-orbit service and zero in-orbit failures
  • An industrial capacity to produce both low volume bespoke and high volume recurring batch production in excess of 100 units
  • Core products developed for commercial telecommunications satellites that are Solar Array Drive Mechanisms (SADM) and Antenna Deployment and Trimming Mechanisms (ADTM)
  • Bespoke mechanisms development and manufacture for scientific missions such as planetary exploration mission Bepi-Colombo
  • Provision of mechanisms engineering expertise to satellite system and major satellite component teams such as EXOMARS Rover, Solar Orbiter and SWARM Deployable Boom

…for Cryo-Coolers customers;

  • Long-life space Cryo-Cooler development and integration of cryogenic systems electronics
  • Confidence through experience gained from involvement in space Cryo-Cooler subsystem development since the 1980s, and since 1991 in excess of 60 Stirling Cooler and derivatives having been produced to Space Flight quality standards
  • A reliable core product that is the 50-80K Sterling Cryo-Cooler which has accumulated more than 150 years of in-orbit life, recently enhanced through the ESA Sentinel 3 A mission
  • Ability to supply all supporting mechanical structures, thermal control and drive electronics, so enabling one-step integration at satellite level

As a result of this extensive experience in supplying equipment to communication, scientific and test spacecraft for governments, agencies and telecommunication companies around the globe, the Airbus Defence and Space Ltd Stevenage mechanisms and Coolers Group has developed a range of products that being modular in design can be readily modified to meet individual mission requirements.

Airbus Defence and Space Ltd Mechanisms Products

Antenna Deployment and Trimming Mechanism (ADTM mk2)



Key facts…

  • Developed by Airbus Defence and Space Ltd to meet antenna positioning requirements for telecommunication applications
  • Shares many key components with its predecessor (ADTM Mk1) which has significant heritage
  • Currently in excess of 50 units successfully operational in-orbit on Airbus Defence and Space Eurostar telecommunications satellites
  • Compact by design, ADTM Mk2 offers a significant capability advantage by being able to precisely control 2 separate axes (roll and pitch) to within 0.01º over a range of 120º, with each axis is controlled backlash free up to a 7Nm external torque
  • Designed so that it can be mounted to a wide range of spacecraft and antenna interfaces
  • Currently expanding to include deployable boom extended range applications

Solar Array Deployment Mechanisms (SADM)


High Power SADM

Key facts…

  • In medium power (MP) and high power (HP) product variants developed by Airbus Defence and Space Ltd to meet solar array power transfer and positioning associated with at least telecommunication applications
  • In excess of 60 units successfully operational in-orbit aboard Airbus Defence and Space Eurostar Geo-telecom satellites
  • Capabilities to transfer up 12.6W at 50V and 27.7W at 100V, with position monitoring perform no less than 20 rotations per 24hrs over and lifetime exceeding 15 years
  • Designed to ensure spacecraft have the maximum available solar power

Bepi-Colombo Deployable Thermal Cover DTC


Bepi Colombo Thermal Cover

Key facts…

  • Developed by Airbus Defence and Space Ltd to meet the requirements of providing compact shutter type thermal cover, for application on Mercury Planetary Orbiter module
  • 12 units of two size variants successfully qualified and delivered, offering compact design solution to fit within 65mm height envelope
  • By design and validation guaranteed for operation after 6.6yrs in space transfer period


Airbus Defence and Space Ltd Cryo-Cooler Products

50-80K Sterling Cooler


5080kcooler_2Key facts…

  • Continues to be the workhorse of the cooler range with over 30 units produced
  • Greater than 1,000,000 accumulated operational hours to date
  • Demonstrated operational life of >10 years
  • Supplied with 51.5W maximum input power delivers a heat lift of 1.1W at 65K or 1.7W at 80K, with rejection temperature of 20°C

High Power Sterling Cooler (HPSC)


Sterling Cooler

Key facts…

  • Currently in Engineering Model development, represents a new generic mechanical evolution of existing sterling cooler
  • Built under an ESA development programme, designed to meet the advanced thermal requirements of future missions
  • Supplied with 150W input power, designed to provide 2W of heat lift at 50K
  • Many internal components are drawn from heritage mechanisms and in particular the 50-80K Stirling Cooler, giving a direct linage of over 20 years development

Contact Details

Airbus Defence and Space Ltd.
Gunnels Wood Road
United Kingdom

Ian Rathband
Head of Mechanisms and Coolers

Ray Redmond
Head of Mechanisms Products

Nicholas Wilson
Head of Engineering and Development