Space Programs: a challenge for material engineering

Zbigniew Klos ,  Jerzy Grygorczuk 

Polish Academy of Sciences, Space Research Centre, Bartycka 18a, Warszawa 01-716, Poland


Space Programs are, by their nature, interdisciplinary and prefer holistic approach. Reliability and redundancy are governing principles in preparing space missions. The space sector is generally more oriented toward using and combining existing technologies than toward generating new ones. Although, this "spin-in" approach dominates in the policy of primary space contractors, it still leaves room for new innovative elements and solutions provided by subcontracting enterprises, usually belonging to the state-of-art unit in material engineering. The good example of that is the parallel activity of the European Space Technology Master Plan (ESTMP) - outlook for future and solutions for space instrumentation implemented now in the planetary probes. The technology of material coating, tribology and advanced miniaturization are key areas that respond to continuously increasing requirements for new sensors, power sources and propulsion systems with very low mass, volume and power consumption. The main challenge of space engineering follows from unusual environmental requirements and constraints (heavy loads and vibration during launch, microgravity, vacuum, thermal gradients, increased doses of radiation) that forces space specific solutions. The Space Research Centre PAS has been involved in design, development, tests and analyses of the advanced instruments prepared for European landers on Titan (Cassini /Huygens) and cometary nucleus (Rosetta). In particular, an original cometary nucleus penetrator onboard Philae(Rosetta lander), working at unusual conditions in space, was a challenge for mechanical design and material engineering. The device contains novel solutions and was developed within close international cooperation.


Presentation: Invited oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2006, Plenary Session, by Zbigniew Klos
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2006

Submitted: 2006-06-23 15:40
Revised:   2006-06-23 15:42