The telecommunications satellite BRIsat has been successfully launched from French Guyana on board an Ariane 5 launcher. The satellite, owned by the Royal Bank Rakyat Indonesia and built by the American company Space Systems Loral, will help to establish safe, fast communications for the bank’s more than 50 million clients in the Indonesian archipelago.
IberEspacio has contributed to this satellite with the two main thermo-structural panels, also known as the north and south radiator panels. This represents a milestone for IberEspacio and for Spanish space technology in general, since it is the first time a major American satellite manufacturer has acquired this type of panel built entirely in Spain.
The main communications panels are large structures: BRIsat’s panels have an area of 6.6 square meters each. They have five main functions: the internal side is used for fixing the electronics of the satellite, the internal network of heat pipes distributes the heat homogeneously all across the panel, the structural inserts of the panel help to add stiffness to the satellite, the external side of the panel radiates the heat generated by the electronics to the space and the external optical solar reflectors reflect the solar radiation to avoid an increase of the satellite’s internal temperature. These panels are critical units and the manufacturer has to guarantee a lifespan of 15 years.
IberEspacio is one of the few companies in the world able to manufacture this equipment in full, because the process requires mastering several, complementary technologies such as advanced Heat Pipes manufacturing, Heat Pipe embedding inside panels and the manufacture of multilevel Heat Pipe networks.
IberEspacio currently has a large order book of thermo-structural panels, some of them with areas of 12 square meters, for fifteen different missions, including the telecommunications satellites PSN 6, Bsat-4A and Eutelsat 7C that will be launched in the next two years.