Six metres high, weighting 1000 kilograms and assembled from over 24,000 parts: These are the dimensions of the second generation of European weather satellites, which in future will collect weather data some 800 kilometres above us.
The six-metre high and 1000-kilogram “light” basic structure was developed by RUAG Space in Zurich. These not only have to withstand hard loads during launch, but are also exposed to extreme temperatures and temperature fluctuations as well as vacuum conditions in space. But the structures also have to be as light as possible to save fuel. The structures owe their lightness to their construction as a “sandwich” with a core of aluminum honeycomb bonded to cover layers of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic.