Nexans equips the European probe Rosetta
The manufacture of the probe harnesses, which enable the onboard equipment and systems to fulfil their functions, involved making more than 12,000 electrical connections.
It took the engineers and technicians of Nexans' harness production plant (situated on the outskirts of Brussels) 3 years to make the harnesses. This plant, which is specialized in spatial cabling, has already produced electrical harnesses for scientific mission satellites (Spot5, Jason, IASI) and telecommunications satellites (Globalstar, Express A and A1R, Hispasat, New Bird, Stellat and GE2i).
The role of Rosetta, which takes its name from the Rosetta Stone that provided the key to the deciphering of the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, is to help the ESA researchers gather essential information on the formation of the solar system. It will be propelled into an orbit close to the Wirtanen comet, which it will accompany for eighteen months and onto which it will send a landing module. This will be the first lander probe sent by man to touch down on the surface of a comet. After passing first Mars and then the asteroids Otawara and Siwa, Rosetta will position itself in orbit around the comet in November 2011.
In the opinion of Carlo Bredt, Managing Director of Nexans' harness activity, "Rosetta was of prime importance for Nexans, which has been present throughout the project, from the feasibility and development study through to qualification and installation on the customer's final integration site. Moreover, this program was conducted in an international context within tight deadlines requiring strict and disciplined project management. The excellent level of cooperation with our partners enabled us to meet our commitments. Nexans as accomplished a very fine performance that is much appreciated by its customers".
In 2003, Nexans' electrical harnesses will be installed on another probe, Mars Express, which will visit the planet Mars and send a lander to analyze ground samples and, if possible, confirm the presence of water - and why not the presence of life as well ...