Saab Ericsson Space has agreed on terms to become a major supplier of
computer equipments for two new European Space Agency (ESA) large
scientific satellites, Herschel and Planck. The order value is in the
order of 16 million Euros.
The two-satellite Herschel / Planck Project is the largest scientific
space mission ever undertaken in Europe. In this ambitious project, ESA
aims to accomplish major savings through joint development of core
hardware for both spacecraft and also by using a shared launch
opportunity on an Ariane 5 launcher in February 2007. The prime
contractor for the joint missions is Alcatel Space of Cannes, France.
The main contractor in charge of the Service Modules in which the SES
equipment will be installed is Alenia Spazio of Turin, Italy.
The Herschel mission is intended to find answers to questions on how
stars and galaxies are born through the use of infrared astronomy. The
Herschel satellite is approximately 7 metres high and 4.3 metres wide,
with a launch mass of around 3 tonnes. It will carry three major
scientific instruments and a giant 3.5 metre diameter Silicon Carbide
telescope, which at the time of its launch will be the largest telescope
ever in space.
The Planck mission will try to answer questions related to how the
universe was formed and what size it may have and how old it is. These
facts will be derived from observing radiation that emanated from the
"Big Bang" 15 000 million years ago. Planck will carry two major
instruments and a Microwave telescope receiver for frequencies from 25
to 1000 GigaHertz (GHz), using a 1.5 meter ultra-high precision
reflector antenna.. The Planck satellite is 4 metres high and 4.2 metres
wide with a launch mass of around 1.5 tonnes.
The satellites will separate after launch to operate independently in
separate orbits around the L2 Lagrangian point, at a distance of 1.5
million kilometres from Earth.
Saab Ericsson Space will be a major supplier in the joint project under
the recently agreed contract with Alenia Spazio of Turin. Saab Ericsson
Space will design and produce computer equipment that keeps track on
satellite status and via telecommand controls the satellites. Also the
satellite positioning and orientation in orbit is controlled using Saab
Ericsson Space computer equipment.
The highly reliable computer systems that will be produced, will be
built around the European ERC-32 processors, operating at 20 MHz clock
The equipment to be built represents the latest available technology in
space applications, including several Application Specific Integrated
Circuits (ASIC's) to reduce weight, volume and power consumption of the
equipments. The Software of the systems will be a cooperative effort
with the customer where Saab Ericsson Space will focus on the Operation
System Software and parts controlling the company's hardware.
The undertaking will engage a team of company engineers for three years
and will result in flight equipment deliveries mid 2004 and will also
result in spare units to be flown on a future, still to be defined
Saab Ericsson Space is an international, independent supplier of space
equipment. The company's main products are computers, microwave
electronics and antennas, guidance and separation systems, and thermal
insulation material for use onboard satellites and launch vehicles. The
company has its headquarters in Göteborg, Sweden, a division located in
Linköping, Sweden and subsidiaries in Austria, Austrian Aerospace, and
the USA, Saab Ericsson Space Inc. The number of employees is 680.
The company is jointly-owned by Saab and Ericsson.
For further information on the industrial aspects of the SES contract,
Iréne Svensson, Phone: +46 (0)31-735 44 63,
Director of Communications and Public Relations, +46 (0)705-35 08 18
Saab Ericsson Space
This information is also available at www.space.se
For further information on the Scientific aspects of the Herschel and
please contact :
Dr. Göran Pilbratt,
Project Scientist for the HERSCHEL Mission
European Space Agency
Dr. Jan Tauber, Project Scientist for the PLANCK mission
European Space Agency
Or consult the Herschel and Planck missions websites at
This information was brought to you by Waymaker http://www.waymaker.net
The following files are available for download: