From our core disciplines solar panels, launch structures and instruments & systems also products originate that deserve separate mentioning.
The development of mechanisms that operate fail-safe under very extreme conditions, for example, has become a specialty of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands in the past decades. Thanks to mechanisms such as those for the deployment of solar arrays after the launch of a satellite – deployment mechanisms and the hold-down-and-release system – over one hundred missions were able to begin their journey in space. A crucial moment, as in space you don’t get second chances. In addition to solar arrays, these mechanisms are also interesting for new applications.
Advanced technology for space environments can also find a destination in terrestrial applications. An example is the Random Positioning Machine, a simulator for microgravity, which proved to be suitable for small-scale experiments in (simulated) weightlessness. The machine is based on the principle of ‘gravity-vector-averaging’: as the test sample is continuously placed into different attitudes, for some biological processes it ‘feels’ like zero-gravity. This makes the product useful for science.