European Space Agency

EUROSTAR E3000 Large Mechanical Platform Development


The project is to develop two large variants of the mechanical platform of the EADS Astrium Eurostar 3000 telecommunications spacecraft, designated as E3000LX and E3000L. The aim of the programme is enable the Eurostar 3000 family to serve markets in the larger and heavier spacecraft sector.

The development will include all tasks necessary to create fully designed and qualified products ready for immediate application to flight programmes. A significant element of the development is the design and qualification of an improved bonded joint for the central cone / cylinder capable.

click for larger image

Two variants will be developed:-

  • E3000 LX will have a maximum launch capability of 6400Kg and incorporate a Chemical Propulsion System combined with a Plasma Propulsion System to extend the on station life.
  • E3000 L variant will have a launch mass of 6200Kg with extended tanks for the Chemical Propulsion System.


The major challenges and key issues in this project:

  1. To design a ring to panel joint which would be simpler to assemble, have higher load capability and improved resistance to damage at cold temperatures.
  2. The design of two new E3000 variants which would benefit from improved performance and extend the product range up to 6.4 tonnes, while maintaining commonality of components and production techniques and giving due regard to mass.
  3. To ensure that the joint design could be implemented on to the current E3000 range without disrupting the production activities or compromising quality and reliability.


The main benefits from this project are shared between the need to extend the product range and the desire to improve the performance of the bonded joints across the entire E3000 product line.

The E3000 product range has increased from 5.8 tonnes to 6.4 tonnes enabling access to markets requiring large payloads up to 14kW. The E3000LX product also accommodates the standard plasma production system (PPS) which improves the on station life.
The respected heritage of the E3000 platform is valid on the LX and L variants due to the similarity of design, equipment and build.

The new design has resulted in reduced in jig build times and has contributed to a 20% increase to the build capacity at Stevenage.


Main Hardware Changes on L – LX

click for larger image

Key development activities required:

  • Re-design of the SM geometry to accommodate the longer propellant tanks,
  • Product mechanical analysis,
  • Re-design of spacecraft structure parts,
  • Propulsion system analysis and design,
  • Propulsion system thermal analysis,
  • Design & manufacture of new assembly jigs & tooling to accommodate the new geometry,
  • Protoflight level testing of cone-cylinder assembly.


Joint Qualification & E3000LX

click for larger image


click for larger image

Current status

The project has been successfully completed and orders have been awarded for both the E3000L and E3000LX variants.

Status date

Friday, February 7, 2014 - 13:20