The SENER Group secures five contracts to develop the LOP-Gateway lunar mission

31/01/2019 (International)
The SENER Group secures five contracts to develop the LOP-Gateway lunar mission

For the first time, the engineering and technology group SENER has been awarded five contracts for the development phase of a future space station in lunar orbit that is destined to become the next international space station, and which is scheduled to be built in the 2020s as part of the Gateway Project.

The Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, LOP-G (previously called the Deep Space Gateway, DSG), is an international project in which the American, Russian, Canadian, Japanese and European space agencies are taking part (NASA, Roscosmos, CSA, JAXA and ESA) in order to design and plan a station in orbit around the Moon, called Cislunar, that can house astronauts for short periods of time. It will be used as an intermediate point for both crewed and robotic space missions on the lunar surface in route to other planets, such as Mars, and even to deep space.

This platform will have several modules: Power and Propulsion, Infrastructure and Telecommunications, Logistics, as well as two Habitation modules and an additional airlock for spacewalks.

The SENER group has entered into five different contracts to carry out this project: For the habitation module (I-HAB), SENER, under contract to Airbus Germany, will be responsible for the design of the four Hatches and the internal secondary structure and for Thales Alenia Space Italia, will define the interfaces for the robotic arms (external and internal). For both companies, SENER will also participate in the design of the docking and berthing mechanisms between the I-HAB and the various modules, which will be assembled in orbit.

For the Infrastructure and Telecommunications module (ESPRIT), under contract to Thales Alenia Space France, SENER will perform an assessment on the motorised Hatch, the communication antenna pointing mechanism and the robotic arm interfaces.

For the lunar landing vehicle that will later be coupled to the station in order to collect lunar soil samples, SENER will undertake the structural design, mechanisms and thermal control, also under Airbus contract.

Finally, within the context of the technological development plan for future ESA missions, the SENER group will carry out, for this agency, the S-band deployable antenna integrated into the lunar ascent module. This antenna, with mechanical pointing capability, will allow the transmission of mission data from the lunar surface as well as telemetry and telecommand communications during the module's ascent and descent maneuvers.

The SENER group has been, for more than 50 years, a top-tier supplier of electromechanical components and systems, navigation systems (GNC/AOCS), communications, astronomy and optics systems for Space, and it is currently participating in the main programs of ESA and NASA (including, in addition to those already mentioned, Hubble, Galileo, Rosetta, Gaia, Herschel and Planck, IXV, Proba 3, BepiColombo, Solar Orbiter, JUICE, Euclid and ExoMars 2020) and of the European Southern Observatory (ESO). The group stands out as one of the leading suppliers for the ESA's science programs, for its engineering contributions.

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