New Spacecraft Materials Ready for Test

In the development of new and innovative hybrid materials for spacecraft protection we are about to commence the test campaign.

The new low cost hybrid materials have been manufactured and the materials will now be tested to ensure that they meet the desired function of protecting the spacecraft and crew from unavoidable impact and danger during space flight.

The materials will be specifically tested to protect against radiation and micrometeorites.  Application tests involve being exposed to levels of radiation the crew will be experiencing during deep space missions. Sabot testing will be used in a hyper velocity chamber where micrometeorites that are unavoidable to the space craft will be fired at high speeds to test endurance and ensure the crews safety.

The materials being developed include Magnesium and Titanium alloy and MMC-based FMLs, comprising layers of polymers (e.g. PEEK, Polyetherimide, Polypropylene, Polyethylene) reinforced with glass, aramid, carbon, Silicon Carbide (SiC) and polymeric fibres. Unfilled honeycomb layers, as well as Urethane foam filled honeycomb layers are employed in some concepts.

The development is an ESA project, project partners include the Open University, TISICS, RADMOD, Fluid Gravity.

Successful Flight Hardware Installation

The Mercury Imaging X-ray Spectrometer (MIXS), with the optics structures designed and supplied by Magna Parva in collaboration with the University of Leicester, has been successfully installed on the BepiColombo Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO).

MIXS is a University of Leicester instrument, and was until his untimely death led by Professor George Fraser who is greatly missed by all at Magna Parva.

The BepiColombo mission is one of ESA’s cornerstone missions in cooperation with Japan and will provide the most complete exploration of Mercury to date. The mission will consist of two separate spacecraft that will orbit the planet. ESA is building one of the main spacecraft, the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), and the Japanese space agency JAXA will contribute the other, the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO). BepiColombo will help to reveal information on the composition and history of Mercury, as well as general information on the formation of the rocky planets, including the Earth.

For further information on the work Magna Parva provided for the instrument please see our project case study page.