Stabilization Systems

The leading suppliers of stabilization systems in Europe are Matra-Marconi and MBB. The Matra-Marconi system was developed as part of ESA's EUROSTAR development and flown successfully on the EUROSTAR derivatives including Inmarsat 2 and TELECOM II. This system utilizes a solar sailing feature (highlighted in ESA's presentation). This fuel saving method has been patented by Matra-Marconi.

The MBB stabilization system efforts are highlighted by successful use on INTELSAT V, of which 13 are still operating in orbit. An advanced version of the MBB hardware has been flown on the DFS satellites. U.S. technology, which will provide more spacecraft autonomy will be flown by SS/Loral, Hughes and GE. Similar upgrades from Matra-Marconi and MBB can be expected, but somewhat later than the U.S. flight programs.

In Japan, all necessary technology and components to produce successful three-axis stabilization systems have been developed. Several three-axis-stabilized spacecraft with systems developed by the leading suppliers Mitsubishi Precision and Toshiba have flown successfully -- for instance, a Mitsubishi Precision momentum wheel with magnetic bearings tested in 1986 on a LEO satellite. For ETS-VI the momentum wheels are built by Mitsubishi Precision and integrated with electronics by Toshiba.

Figure 2.52. Propulsion and Stabilization Systems: ETS-VI Ion Engine Subsystem--Power Processing Unit

Figure 2.53. Propulsion and Stabilization Systems: ETS-VI Ion Engine Subsystem--Thruster Control Unit

Figure 2.54. The Xenon-Ion Thruster Operation

Figure 2.55. MELCO's Ion Thruster (courtesy MELCO)

Figure 2.56. Laboratory Model of 150 mN Ion Thruster (30-cm Diameter)

Figure 2.57. Bipropellant Apogee Engine (ETS-VI)

Table 2.20
Propulsion & Stabilization Systems: ETS-VI Ion Engine Subsystem
Major Parameters of Ion Engine Subsystem

Table 2.21
Propulsion and Stabilization Systems: Xenon Ion Thruster
Target Performance of 150 mN

Published: July 1993; WTEC Hyper-Librarian