Seeking the origins of the universe and climate change: Leonardo-Finmeccanica's photovoltaic assemblies for next-generation satellites
- Leonardo will develop the photovoltaic assemblies to be used from 2020 in the Euclid and Copernicus Sentinel-6 space missions
- Euclid will study galaxies up to 10 billion light years from the Earth, Sentinel-6 will contribute to monitor climate change
- After the record set by Rosetta’s solar panels, the largest ever developed for a solar system exploration mission, Leonardo’s leading role in the market of hi-tech space equipment and sensors is once again confirmed
Leonardo-Finmeccanica has signed two contracts with the German company SpaceTech for the supply of the photovoltaic assemblies to be implemented on two new, important space missions.
Specifically, Leonardo will produce the solar cell assembly for the Euclid mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) – of which Thales Alenia Space, a joint venture between Thales and Leonardo, is prime contractor – which as of 2020 will be searching for the origin of the universe and probing the depths of the cosmos, at a distance of 1.5 million kilometres from earth. Powered by the photovoltaic generator integrated by Leonardo, Euclid will, for 6 years, observe galaxies up to 10 billion light years away, studying the heavenly bodies as they appeared when the universe was three times smaller than it is today.
The second contract involves supplying the photovoltaic assembly for the 8 solar panels on-board Sentinel-6 satellites of Copernicus, the European Commission and ESA programme aimed at monitoring the environment and mitigating the effects of climate change, contributing to the management of humanitarian emergencies, natural disasters and safety of populations. The sentinels - for which Airbus Defence and Space is prime contractor – are scheduled to be launched as of 2020. They will be operating for over 5 years thanks to Leonardo’s photovoltaic assemblies and, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 1300 kilometres, will provide useful information to study, among other things, earthquakes, landslides and the motion of the oceans.
These latest achievements, including the supply of panels for missions such as ExoMars and Rosetta – at 64 square metres, the largest produced to date for a Solar System exploration mission – confirm once again Leonardo’s prominent role in the market of space photovoltaic generators.
With a wide range of skills, ranging from the development of hi-tech space equipment and sensors, the supply of satellite services, to the production of satellites and orbiting structures, Leonardo has a leading role in all the most significant international space missions.