Lesjöfors helps send satellite to the sun
05 February 2016
In 2018 the European Space Agency (ESA), in cooperation with NASA, is launching a satellite that will circle the sun for two years to collect data and study its effects. As part of its design, Lesjöfors has been contacted to create the fuel pipes for the satellite’s steering rockets.
The Swedish Space Corporation (OHB Sweden AB) contacted Lesjöfors Stockholm Fjäder AB in Vällingby, Sweden, a few years ago with a request for the Solar Orbiter project. The enquiry concerned the development of a production method, as well as manufacturing, of helical fuel pipes in ultra thin titanium – with high precision and complex shape and very tight tolerances.
“It was an unusual and highly demanding development project, but also an exciting technical challenge for us. After an initial basic prototype that our customer approved, we were contracted to construct the future shape of the fuel pipes,” says Göran Andersen, project manager at Lesjöfors Stockholm Fjäder.
Lesjöfors’ mission was to develop and produce a variety of spirals that would serve as fuel pipes for the satellite’s steering rockets. The rockets have a critical function for the positioning of the satellite. “The pipes are very thin-walled, so the production required a great deal of know-how combined with small tolerances – without the slightest room for deviations. A perfect mission for Lesjöfors,” says Göran Andersen.
Lesjöfors has previously supplied helical springs to OHB Sweden for applications both on the ground and in space. “When we needed a supplier of helical fuel pipes for Solar Orbiter’s rocket system, Lesjöfors was a natural choice,” commented Hans Hellman, project manager at OHB Sweden. “We are fully confident in their expertise in their method development and their manufacture of helical springs in small series.”