Springing fuel pipes from Lesjöfors in sun observing satellite

2015-10-01 Lesjöfors is contributing to a prestigious project of the European Space Agency, where helical fuel pipes is developed and manufactured. The function is technically demanding and is important for the satellite´s positioning.

The European Space Agency (ESA) is Europe’s gateway to space and has 22 member states. Its´ mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe. ESA’s job is to draw up the European space programme and carry it through. ESA's programmes are designed to find out more about Earth, its immediate space environment, our Solar System and the Universe, as well as to develop satellite-based technologies and services. In 2018, ESA in cooperation with NASA is launching a satellite which will circulate around the sun for two years to collect data and study its´ effects. The project is called Solar Orbiter, and is part of the space program, ESA Cosmic Vision. Head contractor is Airbus UK.

Request from the Swedish Space Corporation
The Swedish Space Corporation (today OHB Sweden AB) contacted Lesjöfors Stockholm Fjäder in Vällingby, Sweden a few years ago with a request for the project Solar Orbiter. The inquiry concerned the development of a production method as well as manufacturing of helical fuel pipes in ultrathin titanium with high precision and complex shape and very tight tolerances.
“It was an unusual and highly demanding development project, but also an exciting technical challenge for us. After an initial basic prototype that our customer approved, we were contracted to construct the future shape of the fuel pipes”, says Göran Andersen, Project Manager at Lesjöfors Stockholm Fjäder.

Crucial function in steering rockets
Lesjöfors´ mission was to develop and produce a variety of spirals that would serve as fuel pipes for the satellite's steering rockets. The rockets have a critical function for the positioning of the satellite.
“The pipes are very thin-walled, so the production required a great deal of know-how combined with small tolerances without the slightest room for deviations. A perfect mission for Lesjöfors”, says Göran Andersen.

Great satisfaction with the outcome
The customer, OHB Sweden, express great satisfaction over the cooperation with Lesjöfors that has been characterized by great perceptiveness and complexity.
"Lesjöfors Stockholm Fjäder has previously supplied helical springs to OHB Sweden for applications both on the ground and in space. When we needed a supplier of helical fuel pipes for Solar Orbiter´s rocket system, Lesjöfors was a natural choice. We are fully confident in their expertise in method development and manufacture of helical springs in small series", says Hans Hellman, Project Manager at OHB Sweden.

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