Antwerp, 26 October 2016 – Today Antwerp Space has officially opened its new clean room, in the presence of Belgian State Secretary for Science Policy Elke Sleurs and Mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever. In this ultra-modern, secured work space the Antwerp based company will be making components for prestigious international space projects.
Antwerp Space’s new clean room in Hoboken (with a ground surface of 100 m² and a height of 3 m) is designated category ISO 8. It will offer a protected environment in which the level of dust particles, the temperature (around 22°) and the relative humidity (about 55 %) are strictly managed, to avoid e.g. corrosion or electrical breakdowns.
Prestigious space projects
Starting November 2016, Antwerp Space will be using its new clean room for the production and integration of components for key prestigious space programmes for the European Space Agency (ESA).
ExoMars, a collaboration between ESA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos, consists of two missions to Mars. The first – an orbiter and a lander – was launched on 14 March 2016 and has just arrived at the Red Planet. Part two of the mission – a surface platform which will land on Mars and a rover that will explore the planet’s surface – is planned for 2020 and it will be flown to Mars on board a carrier module. Antwerp Space is responsible for the communication subsystem of the carrier module.
One of the scientific instruments on board the surface platform is LaRa (Lander Radioscience). The LaRa mission was designed by a scientific team from the Royal Observatory of Belgium and will be engineered and delivered by Antwerp Space. It consists of a sophisticated communication equipment transmitting from Mars to Earth. The analysis of the radio signals characteristics received on Earth will enable the scientists to improve our knowledge of the Red Planet's orientation and rotation, and ultimately understand better its internal structure. LaRa will be the first Belgian instrument to ever land on the Red Planet.
Antwerp Space is also responsible for designing, assembling and testing the communication subsystem on the JUICE spacecraft. JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) is planned for launch in 2022 and arrival at Jupiter in 2029. It will spend at least three years conducting detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa. It will be the first spacecraft ever to orbit a moon (Ganymede) of a giant planet.
Finally, Antwerp Space is also developing ARGO, a highly innovative modem. The first instance of this modem will be used in a new Ka band data relay terminal communication terminal to be attached to the ESA Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018.
The equipment developed by Antwerp Space consists of an advanced modem that uses a high-performing encoding technology for the very first time in Europe. This modem will enable faster communication from the ISS to the Earth via the new European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS).
“The inauguration of this clean room means a milestone in the history of Antwerp Space. Our facilities are now meeting all standards to integrate and test all kinds of satellite subsystems and components. This investment allows us to continue our ambitious plans for the future” confirms Oliver Salisch, Managing Director of Antwerp Space.
"The investment made by Antwerp Space for this new clean room is a tangible sign of the company's ambition for future space programmes. I look forward to the role Antwerp Space will play in current and future key ESA missions", said Secretary of State Elke Sleurs.
"As mayor of the city of Antwerp, I take great pride in knowing that a local company is providing its expertise and know-how for European missions to Mars and Jupiter. Hopefully someday people will associate our city not only with its port and the diamond trade, but also with its role in space exploration", also said Mayor of Antwerp Bart De Wever.
About Antwerp Space
Antwerp Space, a subsidiary of listed technology group OHB SE (ISIN DE0005936124), is part of OHBs Business Unit Space Systems and provides expertise as well as system solutions for European space programs and commercial space applications worldwide. Antwerp Space develops systems and satellite equipment, satellite ground control stations for the reception of data from observation satellites and for the control of spacecrafts, as well as test systems used during the integration of satellites.