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5th September 2017, Hague

Airborne to supply MetOp SG satellite panels

Airborne Aerospace, headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, has been selected by Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands to develop and manufacture the substrate panels for the solar array systems of the Meteorological Operational Second Generation (MetOp SG) satellites.

The MetOp-SG satellites will ensure the continuity of essential weather information globally for the next decades. Airborne will manufacture 30 large sandwich substrate panels for the solar arrays of six MetOp-SG satellites and will deliver these before the end of 2017.

The MetOp-SG satellites will ensure the continuity of essential weather information globally for the next decades. © Airborne Aerospace

The substrate panels for MetOp-SG are based on state-of-the-art ARA Mk4 technology the fourth generation solar array technology developed and qualified by Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands, in close cooperation with Airborne Aerospace.

In May this year TenCate Advanced Composites signed a long-term agreement to advanced thermoset composite materials for the panels.

Prepregs developed by TenCate feature on areas of the panels including the facesheets, edge-members and patches.  TenCate RS36, a thermoset prepreg for structural composite applications offers low outgassing, excellent thermal stability and enhanced chemical resistance. The epoxy system also allows for a cost effective solution with an excellent balance of mechanical properties, low moisture absorption and high glass transition temperatures.

“This latest contract marks the next step in the longstanding and fruitful cooperation between Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands and Airborne Aerospace,” says Arnaud de Jong, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands. “It’s rewarding to know that our joined high-tech, Dutch expertise contribute to the much-needed insight in our climate and weather forecasts,”

“The aim of the ARA Mk4 development was to improve our competitiveness, for our client as well as for Airborne, which we have been able to achieve,” adds Arno van Mourik, CEO of Airborne International. “We see this confirmed by our recent contracts that have been awarded to Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands and Airborne Aerospace, for large programs such as JUICE and MetOp-SG. We clearly see our strategy strengthens the position of both companies within this long-term cooperation.”

The MetOp programme

The Meteorological Operational satellite programme (MetOp) is a European undertaking providing weather data services to monitor the climate and improve weather forecasts. The programme was jointly established by ESA and the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), forming the space segment of Eumetsat’s Polar System (EPS).

In order to ensure the continuity of essential weather information after 2022, contracts were signed between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space (ADS)in October 2014 to build three new pairs of MetOp Second Generation satellites. Although the different satellites will be developed and built in Toulouse and Friedrichshafen, a large industrial consortium of European companies will be involved under the leadership of ADS.

Each satellite will be launched separately. It is envisaged that the first A satellite will be launched in 2021, followed by the first B satellite in 2022. The MetOp-SG satellites will orbit Earth at an average altitude of 831 km in a polar orbit to provide global coverage.

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