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Thales Alenia Space has made one further step in the introduction of composites in satellite structures, replacing metallic rod connectors by carbon fibre reinforced epoxy parts.
This change will allow to make significant weight saving in the structure, hence allowing more payload for the same launch weight.
VN Composites, in charge of design and development, has developed a specific process (CMC for compression moulded composites) to manufacture the connectors at a high dimensional accuracy.
ACG offers several systems which can be used for Space applications. Among them, MTM46 has been selected for this application. A transformation by VN Composites is necessary to adapt it for CMC process and specifically for these structures parts.
MTM46 is a toughened structural epoxy system which prepregs exhibit processing easiness, combined with Tg capability up to 180°C a nd good behaviour in space environment with outgasing exceeding NASA requirements.
VN Composites CMC connectors are now qualified on two latest Thales Alenia Space telecommunication programs and their use will be expanded to other payloads.
About Thales Alenia Space
The European leader in satellite systems and a major player in orbital infrastructures, Thales Alenia Space is a joint venture between Thales (67%) and Finmeccanica (33%). Thales Alenia Space and Telespazio embody the two groups’ “Space Alliance”. Thales Alenia Space sets the global standard in solutions for space telecoms, radar and optical Earth observation, defense and security, navigation and science. The company achieved revenues of Euro 2 billion in 2009 and has a total of 7,200 employees located in 9 industrial sites in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium.
More information : www.thalesaleniaspace.com
Advanced Composites Group Ltd (ACG Ltd.), part of Umeco plc, is a leading manufacturer of composite impregnated materials (prepregs) used principally in aerospace, motorsport, automotive, and wind energy. With plants in Heanor and Manchester (UK) and Tulsa (USA), ACG Ltd employs more than 500 peoples and has revenues over 70M€.
More information : www.advanced-composites.co.uk
About VN Composites
VN Composites is member of the MontBlanc Technologies group and has been specialized in the design, development and manufacturing of technical composite parts for demanding fields since more than 30 years. Located in Toulon, France, VN Composites employs 10 people with a turn over of 1M€.
More information : www.vn-composites.fr