European Space Agency

Mechanical Platform Improvement Plan


The objectives of this contract were to improve the effectiveness of the Eurostar 3000 Mechanical Platform by:

  • Developing a version of the platform optimised for the lower end of the power / mass range whilst maintaining a large degree of commonality. This variant is now known as Eurostar 3000SX.
  • Redesigning the East and West (±X ) structure elements to both minimise the production cost and to optimise spacecraft integration activities.
  • Developing improved structural panel manufacturing methods.




The E3000SX product variant has now replaced earlier variants as it is better adapted to this segment of the market. It has been selected for several missions, the first of which is already in orbit.

The simplified X-face design is now a standard feature of all Eurostar 3000 spacecraft due to its simplified, standardised design and for its ease of use during spacecraft integration. The benefits of the two panel manufacturing developments are a reduction in manufacturing cycle time and consequent cost saving.


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Eurostar 3000SX
The E3000SX variant is designed for a lower range of payload power consumption so a simplified power subsystem architecture has been defined with smaller batteries and reduced avionics. The structure, thruster accommodation and thermal control have been simplified as a result. Compatibility with electric propulsion has been removed allowing further simplification.

X-face Structure
The ±X structure has been redesigned to reduce the part count and to maximise the access to the spacecraft interior during spacecraft integration activities.

Panel manufacturing
Two new processes have been developed to reduce the production schedule for structure sandwich panels:

  • An alternative method of manufacturing embedded heat pipe panels has been developed that inverts the normal build sequence reducing the part count and build time.
  • A system for automated placement and potting of structural inserts in sandwich panels has been developed that is considerably faster than the current manual method. The same machine can also place and bond electrical harness tybases.

Flexible OSR
A study to seek a polymer film alternative to glass OSR offering better properties than silver teflon was undertaken. No existing product that met the electrical requirements was found but the principle of electrical improvement by carbon loading was demonstrated.


Planned activities have been completed.

Current status

This contract has been completed.

Status date

Thursday, February 27, 2014 - 08:49