A consortium of six Spanish companies from the Basque Country, led by SENER Aeroespacial, in concert with EGILE Mechanics, FAGOR Automation, IBARMIA Innovatek, KORTA and ULMA Embedded Solutions, is working on a project to develop a high-performance scanner to be used in telescopes, cameras and other optical instruments.
The project, called “HI-PREST, Technologies for highly reliable and accurate submicrometric devices in critical applications and environments,” is funded by the Basque Government through the HAZITEK 2020 program.
Scanning mechanisms are a key and critical element in telescopes on board space satellites, since they are essential to the stability of the maneuvers used to point the telescope cameras. As a result, they can guarantee the quality of high-resolution scanning images by eliminating the rotational movement of the satellite itself (spinning) with submicrometric precision, and doing so in a critical environment such as outer space.
SENER Aeroespacial has a successful product on board the Meteosat Third Generation (MTG), which, at the time, was developed with international vendors. The MTG scanner developed by SENER Aeroespacial allows the satellite to take a photograph with meter accuracy, at a distance of 36,000 km.
The main goal of the HI-PREST project is for this consortium of companies from the Basque Country to produce a demonstrator for a high-accuracy scanner that results in a competitive and innovative product that can be offered to programs of the European Space Agency (ESA) or the American Space Agency (NASA). This will enable the entire manufacturing value chain for this type of component to develop this capacity, the goal being to turn the consortium partners into benchmark suppliers in the design, development and manufacture of submicrometric precision, highly stable mechanisms for critical applications and environments.
Within the consortium, SENER Aeroespacial is coordinating the overall project, Egile Mechanics is producing the reduction gear, FAGOR Automation, together with ULMA Embedded Solutions, the high-precision encoders and position control algorithms, and KORTA the low-noise bearings. IBARMIA Innovatek will use the technologies developed in machine tool applications to advance new manufacturing processes. In this regard, the consortium’s objectives include not only the development of robust, fail-safe submicrometric accuracy mechanisms, but also to conduct research into new materials and advanced manufacturing technologies.
Together with the companies involved as project partners, also taking part in HI-PREST are the TECNALIA Research & Innovation technology centers, the University of the Basque Country (UPV), Mondragón Goi Eskola Politeknikoa (MGEP), FAGOR Aotek and Egile Innovative Solutions.