Mechanical Ground Support Equipment For Satellite

As a motion control specialist, we are well versed in making things that go up-and-down, in-and-out, and round-and-round; but this recent solution takes that concept to a different level.

This Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) has been designed for placing a heavy, but delicate, anechoic load over the Inmarsat-6 satellite, L-band antenna. Inmarsat 6 is next generation in Inmarsat’s satellite fleet and features a Ka-band payload hosted on L-band satellite. Currently being constructed by Airbus in Portsmouth, the satellites are scheduled for launch in 2021.

The load will be positioned over the L-band feed array in a fixed position during testing, and when in use it is supported on the MGSE, capable of fine positional and rotational adjustments to the load position relative to the feed array.

The flight integrity of the feed array being loaded must be preserved during the test program, therefore the load and the MGSE were built so as not to be a source of contamination, with no physical contact between the load and the feed array active surfaces.

MGSE Overview

  • Safe working load of 650kg
  • Translates the Load in 3-axis (XF,YF,and ZF) in relation to the spacecrafts feed array
  • Rotates the Load about its ZAL and YAL axis.
  • The translation of the axes is carried by means of lead screws with manual hand wheel interface.
  • Can be moved around freely on a flat surface in any direction with ease, without marking the floor area.
  • Fitted with jacks to prevent any undesired movement whilst positioning the Load

With manual motion control, the MGSE payload delivery system is designed for delicate movements for the testing and loading process and includes four stainless steel positioning cones for perfect placement. This is despite managing a huge safe working load of 650kg, which has been safety tested to 1300kg.

This Mechanical Ground Support Equipment will be used by Airbus across multiple sites, including Portsmouth UK; Toulouse, France; and Montreal in Canada, as the satellites are assembled.

Although we do not usually build motion control systems this large, it is testament to the team and manufacturing partners that we have been able to deliver a solution for the customer at this scale, without compromising on the exacting specifications required.

MGSE Position 2
MGSE Position 3
MGSE Position 1
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