Astrium has successfully completed qualification testing on the Dispenser for the second-generation satellites of the Globalstar constellation. The qualification commission headed by Arianespace has ended the Dispenser’s development phase, making it possible to finalise series production for the first flight modules that were developed in parallel..
The Dispenser is the structure that holds the satellites in place during the launch and ensures their positioning at a precisely-timed moment during the mission. The attachment and separation fittings are sophisticated pyrotechnic devices based on patented Astrium technology. The new Dispenser will allow the Soyuz launcher to carry six satellites for the Globalstar-2 constellation beneath its fairing.
Astrium is the European leader in the development of Dispenser systems that can accommodate varied satellite payloads. The company is also recognised worldwide for its expertise in the development of composite structures for launch vehicles and satellites and the manufacturing of antenna reflectors.
“Following this successful qualification, we now have all the key elements at our disposal to develop the Dispenser for Ariane 5 that will launch the Galileo satellites in groups of four beginning in 2012,” said Alain Charmeau, CEO of Astrium Space Transportation. “It also paves the way for the development of the dual launch structure for the future of Ariane 5. I know that I speak for all our employees when I say that we are extremely motivated to meet the challenges to come.”
The Dispenser development work and the production of the first flight model took exactly two years to complete, as planned in the original work schedule.
The structure is nearly seven metres high and weighs in at just under 550 kg thanks to the use of extremely high-performance composites. Right from the outset of the project, the design teams from Les Mureaux and Saint-Medard-en-Jalles had to take into account extremely exact rigidity and weight constraints for the structure’s development.
Astrium drew on all its experience in the fields of complex structures and composites to make the new Dispenser a reality, demonstrating once again the company’s ability to successfully satisfy customer requirements while remaining competitive.