Space Projects

Instruments in Space

Extreme performance requirements, severe power and mass constraints, long mission durations combined with a harsh environment, that is what makes things different from most terrestrial applications. Scientific space instruments are our very core business since the beginning more than 35 years ago. And it's not only our business -- we love to develop systems that expand your knowledge about space.

The following example projects illustrate our flight heritage of instruments in space.

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Developments for Space

Bringing a scientific instrument onto a space mission and into space is a long and complex process. We can assist you already with the initial steps, when you might have an idea for a scientific core question, an instrument idea, or maybe already a full mission proposal. In these early phases we can provide you the following:

  • Proposal assistance: Together with you we can develop ideas, how your scientific questions can be solved by an new instrument in space. We analyze any given mission scenario in detail to make your proposal consistent with all requirements and boundary conditions. We will try hard to make your proposal a winning proposal.
  • Phase-A studies: We assess the technical feasibility of a scientific instrument within the given mission scenario. We assess alternative instrument concepts that you or we might have developed, to find the optimum approach. We develop the instrument concept in detail, providing block diagrams of the overall system, mass and power budgets...
  • Phase-B developments, analysis, and breadboarding of complex space systems.

The following example projects illustrate our experience in space instruments prototyping and related instrumentation.

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Space Rovers

Mobility is a key feature for any science mission and for space exploration in general. Missions with mobile systems provide a much wider spectrum of outcomes by employing a higher number of samples within an increased area of exploration. The additional degree of freedom of a rover in comparison to a lander or even a robotic arm allows the mission to be  exibly adapted to the landing site as it is encountered.

Nevertheless, rover vehicles developed for the exploration of planetary surfaces are complex systems, which have to be specialised for the environmental conditions they are dedicated for. With the variation of the environmental conditions on missions to di fferent target planets, the requirements are varying for the landing system, the rover as well as the payload.

Since 1989 the company von Hoerner & Sulger is doing research in the field of robotic systems and planetary exploration. Given that, the company is in the mean time well situated in the development and manufacture of rovers and established a good cooperation with academic institutes. The company gained the experience to develop the matching rover chassis for a variety of mission scenarios:

  • The Nanokhod rover is a small mobile scientific platform, designed to transport a package of scientific instruments and to carry out in-situ   measurements of rocks and small craters in the vicinity of the landing point. The Microrover has a volume of 160x65x250 mm, it weighs 3,2 kg including a payload mass of 1 kg and has a peak power need of max. 5 W. The Nanokhod is a tethered system that uses the Lander for power supply and as a data relay to Earth. The Nanokhod has recently been designed to withstand the demanding requirements of a flight model on a mission to Mercury. Based on this design, an engineering-level hardware model was built which is suitable for environmental testing, preparing the rover design for a variety of possible future missions.
  • The Solero rover is an innovative Minirover concept, designed for regional exploration of a planetary surface. The vehicle has a passive chassis concept with exceptional climbing abilities, which provides the ability to adjust to all kinds of terrains and thus minimises control needs.
  • The company vH&S is leading already the second ExoMars rover chassis breadboard design and manufacturing activity, which is part of the rover development for the first European Mars rover. The second breadboard is designed and built by vH&S GmbH in collaboration with DLR and two Swiss collaborators. The ExoMars rover for the ESA Cornerstone Mission Aurora, will be a mobile Laboratory having an Exo-biology Payload (Pasteur), including a geochemical package, and carrying a drill that is reaching probes up to a depth of two meter.

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