First US government contract for Ruag Space targets power

June 24, 2021 // By Nick Flaherty
First US government contract for Ruag Space targets power
Ruag Space has been awarded a satellite power subsystem program by the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Ruag Space in Switzerland is to develop a configurable Rapid Electronic Power Subsystem (Rapid EPS) for satellites which will dramatically cut the lead time and cost of the power subsystem.

The effort began with discussions led by Niklas Boman, Product Group Spacecraft Director of Marketing and Sales, focused on securing the company’s involvement in the US government’s initiative to create a Resilient Space Structure for defence purposes.

“This project is a decisive door opener for further projects with the U.S. Government,” said André Wall, CEO of parent company Ruag International.

Ruag Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe with 1,300 staff in Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, USA and Finland developing and manufacturing products for satellites and launch vehicles.

The Rapid EPS project consists of a Solar Array Regulator demonstrator and a Solar Array Wing demonstrator. Both products will be assembled and tested in Titusville, Florida. The key is a modular design and using automotive grade COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) components.

Electronic Power Subsystems are highly critical for the operation of satellites, and AFRL expects the Rapid EPS concept to deliver a “radical improvement compared to existing technological approaches,” said Dr. Robert Walters, lead of the AFRL Advanced Space Power program.

“This project is a great example for a collaboration across different product units and countries”, said Luis De León Chardel, Executive Vice President a.i. at Ruag Space. “With this technology development program, we are ultimately targeting a new EPS subsystem offering. Moving up in the value chain by strengthening RUAG Space’s subsystem portfolio offering is a key pillar of our strategy.”

The programme will be led by Kellenie Lopez, Senior Project Manager based in Denver, under Mike Allen, Director of Electronic Systems. The program will be supported from both Product Unit Mechanism in Zurich headed by Oliver Kunz with John Ransdell serving as Project Manager and Product Unit Interface Electronics in Tampere, Finland, lead by Timo Hänninen with Juha Kuitunen as Project Manager. Staff in Denver and Titusville, Florida will also provide engineering design and satellite manufacturing capability.

The Rapid EPS will be designed to enable rapid configuration and rapid delivery of systems in various sizes. A key part of the design is that it is cost effective enough to be used for satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) that may only be in use for a few years.

“The study will help RUAG to ascertain the exact degree of modularity achievable with the currently developed modular components for the Solar Array Wing and show the gaps for the future modular roadmap,” said Mathias Burkhalter, Team Leader of Systems Engineering at Product Unit Mechanism.

The photovoltaic array (PVA) will be sourced by the Titusville facility from Ruag’s consortium partner, SolAero Technologies in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Ruag will build up expertise and skills at Titusville for future manufacturing of the needed solar array panels and assembly, integration and testing (AIT) of the complete Solar Array Wing (SAW) for US customers. 

The project builds on the development of previous power systems by Ruag.

“For the Solar Array Regulator, this project overcomes limitations of previous developments for other missions by introducing a new level of configurability and flexibility in the design – yielding an ability to adapt to changing spacecraft requirements with reduced non-recurring costs and lead times,” said Harri Myllymäki, Lead Engineer at Product Unit Interface Electronics.

www.ruag.com/space

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