The high precision pointing mechanism for the HGAG antenna will make it possible to communicate between Mars and Earth. Madrid, November 24th - The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), NASA's next mission to Mars will be launched from the Cape Canaveral Space Complex in Florida this Saturday, November 26th aboard an Atlas V. The MSL consists of a planetary exploration rover named Curiosity, which will arrive on Mars in 2012 with a mission to examine the planet's rocks and determine the geological processes that created them, study the Martian atmosphere and determine the distribution and circulation of water and carbon dioxide in any state: solid, liquid, or gas.
As part of a technical collaboration agreement between the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the US and the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) in Spain, SENER’s participation in this mission was the development of the pointing mechanism, or gimbal, for the high-gain antenna (HGAG). The HGAG allows bidirectional communication between the rover on Mars and tracking stations on Earth. The pointing mechanism has two degrees of freedom, elevation over azimuth, and is integrated on the rover platform to point the antenna precisely toward Earth. An actuator moves each axis independently to achieve the required velocity and accuracy. The gimbal also incorporates a Hold Down and Release Mechanism, which will be released once the rover is on the Martian surface.
SENER’s work on this NASA program was carried out successfully within the anticipated schedule.
SENER has extensive experience in the Space industry, where it has developed components and systems for flight segments in their three areas of activity: precision mechanisms, GNC systems, and optical payloads. The Group has participated in projects such as the Bepi Colombo satellite, the World Space Observatory satellite, the Herschel and Planck satellites and the European Space Agency's Proba 3 mission. In the latter, SENER is responsible for the entire mission. All of this work has been complemented by projects from NTE-SENER, a company completely owned by SENER that specializes in the Space sector in payloads for scientific and exploratory space missions, microgravity and life sciences, medical care for space crews and life support, such as in its work for the MARES and MELISSA projects for the European Space Agency.
It is worth mentioning that SENER’s activity is backed by the 100% reliability of the more than 240 flight teams it has supplied, throughout its more than 40-year history, for 53 satellites and other space infrastructure such as the International Space Station.
The company's main clients include the European Space Agency (ESA), the United States Space Agency (NASA), the European Southern Observatory (ESO), Spanish institutes such as CDTI, INTA and Ciemat, and companies such as EADS, Thales-Alenia and Lockheed Martin, among many others.
In all of the sectors it works in, be it Engineering - Aerospace, Civil Engineering and Architecture, Power and Marine - or Aeronautics and the Environment, the company is renowned for its commitment to quality and innovation and for its independence. Recently, SENER was awarded the prize for Innovation in the prestigious European Business Awards for its solar power plant project, Gemosolar. SENER won against nine other companies selected as finalists from a field of over 15,000 European companies in an extensive selection process that began in May 2011.
SENER is a private engineering and technology group founded in 1956 in Bilbao, which seeks to offer its clients the most advanced technological solutions and which enjoys international recognition, thanks to its independence and its commitment to innovation and quality. SENER has a workforce of more than 5,000 professionals and a turnover of 1,066 million Euros.
SENER engages in the specific activities of engineering, and also has industrial holdings in companies involved in Energy and Environment, as well as Aerospace. The Engineering Division, SENER Ingeniería y Sistemas, S.A. is an engineering, construction and systems integration company which has become one of the leading Spanish engineering firms, with a turnover of more than 624 million Euros, around 2,000 employees and offices in Abu Dhabi, Algiers, Barcelona, Bilbao, Buenos Aires, Lisbon, Madrid, Mexico City, Okayama, San Francisco, Seville, Valencia and Warsaw.
Oihana Casas. Communication Office. SENER Tel (+34) 91 807 7318 / 679 314 085