Spacecraft container used for the safe transport of satellites and probes

Leading Supplier for Spacecraft Container

Beyond Gravity is a recognized supplier of Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) with more than 30 years of successful deliveries to both the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA and the commercial market worldwide.

Mechanical Ground Support Equipment for Spacecraft

In the area of Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) Beyond Gravity has supplied the complete system MGSE for many ESA satellites.

Beyond Gravity has provided Spacecraft Containers, Multipurpose Trolleys and various Other Mechanical Ground Support Equipment elements to many other institutional and commercial programs. The experience gathered in the support of space programs over 30 years is making Beyond Gravity a competitive partner for the provision of high-quality and high-performance Mechanical Ground Support Equipment MGSE to satellite and launcher manufacturers worldwide.

Spacecraft Container

Beyond Gravity delivers Spacecraft Containers tailored to customer requirements. Transport and Storage Containers protect the satellites during road and air transportation and long-term storage.

Features Satellite Containers

Beyond Gravity delivers Spacecraft Containers tailored to customer requirements. Pressurized and non-pressurized Transport and Storage Satellite Containers equipped with dynamic damping systems, thermal control and filtering systems protect the satellites during road and air transportation and long-term storage.

The following features can be provided as example:

  • Compatibility for requested air craft transportation with respect to aircraft type (Boeing 747, Antonow 124, Beluga,...)
  • Fulfilling of IATA (International Air Transport Association) requirements for air transport
  • High passive thermal performance and self-powered active thermal control
  • N2 - Pressurization System with automatic control of internal overpressure, as well as emergency venting and breathing capability.
  • Alternately free breathing containers have been designed.
  • Support for several configurations (dry/wet) of the spacecraft via adjustable damping systems
  • Remotely operated fixation of the spacecraft within the Satellite Container

Typical configuration of Satellite Container

The typical configuration of a spacecraft Transport and Storage Container is a flat base frame, a thermally insulated tub and a removable lid with external thermal insulation. The top is a pressure - vessel enclosure to provide the best load capability with minimum dimensions.

The joint between the removable lid and container base is sealed by an inflatable seal. Quick - release fasteners secure the cover to the base.

Joints are welded to minimize sealing problems. For high mass satellites, carbon and stainless steel is chosen. For both cases the material selected for the interface to the Spacecraft is Aluminium alloy.

Aluminium alloy is used as structural material due to its light weight, its cleanliness and its favourable magnetic properties.

The environmental requirements are achieved by a dry nitrogen overpressure system and a self-regulating Thermal Control Unit, which incorporates its own diesel generator and heating/cooling equipment.

A helicable damping systems attenuate shock and vibration. Instrumentation fitted comprises a Shock Recorder and a Temperature and Humidity recorder. In-facility mobility of the Container is assisted by braked, swivel - lock castors, which can be retracted for transport.

Qualification Process Satellite Container

The typical Qualification Process for a Satellite Container comprises tests for:

  • Function Sequence
  • Gas Tightness
  • Dynamic Response (Drop Test, Road Test)
  • Thermal Behavior
  • Water Spray Test
  • Electrical Bonding Test
Reusable Spacecraft container for the safe transport of satellites of the OneWeb constellation

Beyond Gravity provided container solutions for constellation satellites

Beyond Gravity delivered 15 containers (mobile clean rooms), 33 trolleys and further equipment for the transport and integration of several hundred satellites of the commercial satellite constellation from OneWeb. Beyond Gravity supplied tailor-made container solutions for transporting these satellites to the world's rocket launch centers.

Other MGSE

Beyond Gravity designs and manufactures Lifting Devices for a multitude of applications.

Lifting Devices

Beyond Gravity has designed and manufactured Lifting Devices for a multitude of applications ranging from lifting/handling of small instruments to very large spacecraft. They are used for hoisting/handling during all stages of integration and testing up to launch.

Lifting Devices come either with fixed hoisting axis or are convertible between horizontal and vertical configuration. Features such as remote control for lifting and/or COG (Center of Gravity) adjustment are selectable by the customer.

Handling Devices, Adapters, Panel Integration Devices

System MGSE includes all MGSE items needed during spacecraft spacecraft Assembly, Integration and Test activities (AIT).

In the course of delivering System MGSE, Beyond Gravity has designed and delivered a wide variety of Spacecraft Adapters, Integration Stands, Handling and Integration Devices (e.g. optical alignment tooling), Special Test Stands (e.g. TV or Magnetic Test Stands) and Panel Handling Equipment (e.g. Panel Hoisting devices, Panel Integration Trolleys etc.).

Multipurpose Trolley

The Multipurpose Trolley (MPT) supports the spacecraft or dedicated modules during horizontal or vertical integration and provides a table capable of tilting and rotating the spacecraft.

The Multipurpose Trolley (MPT) supports the spacecraft or dedicated modules during horizontal or vertical integration and provides a table capable of tilting and rotating the spacecraft to any attitude between spin axis vertical and horizontal.

The Multipurpose Trolley (MPT) provides the interface to the spacecraft via the Transport and Handling Adapter or specific other test adapters.

Aluminum alloy or carbon steel is selected as a structural material.

Providing full compatibility to safety EC regulations, a complete set of safety interlocks is implemented, e.g.:

  • No rotating while tilting
  • No tilt while rotating
  • Key-switch for mains power
  • Overload limitation

Operation of Trolley via cable remote control and (optional) programmable touchscreen.

  • Tilt and slewing-rotation of the spacecraft via self-locking motor driven spindles for tilting and auto-locking wormgear motor drive for slewing ring rotation
  • All drive systems and moving parts fully covered
  • Provisions for towbar/crane lift/fork lift
  • Level-adjusting screwjacks & castors
  • Protective soft-cover for transport and storage can be provided

Ground Support Equipment Clampband

Beyond Gravity delivers Ground Support Equipment (GSE) Clampbands for spacecraft on-ground handling and testing.

The GSE Clampband is designed to connect the spacecraft interface ring to any different test adapter during the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) campaign. The main focus of the design of the GSE Clampband has been set to achieve a high product reliability and easy handling.