Airborne develops composite structures for European small launcher program
Airborne (The Hague, The Netherlands) has announced that the company completed its contribution to the European Commission Horizon 2020 project called SMall Innovative Launcher for Europe (SMILE), which came to an end in December 2018.
The program involved design of a launcher for satellites up to 50 kg and the manufacturing of cost-effective solutions
Airborne’s contribution to the project was to develop a structural concept for a small launcher together with new and innovative automation technology
SMILE targets both the market for education and in-orbit demonstration, and commercial, scientific and governmental missions.
Anders Brødsjø, technology manager at Airborne, says, “The SMILE project allowed us to further mature our automated manufacturing technology, as well as developing a concept for an launcher structure. This technology will not only help to create affordable launcher structures, but is also applicable to many other markets, such as aerospace and automotive.”
Compared to legacy materials like steel, aluminum, iron and titanium, composites are still coming of age, and only just now are being better understood by design and manufacturing engineers. However, composites’ physical properties — combined with unbeatable light weight — make them undeniably attractive.
Fast-reacting resins and speedier processes are making economical volume manufacturing possible.
Composites Technology Development's first commercial tank in the Type V category presages growth of filament winding in storage of compressed gases.