Italy’s ELV SpA (Avio Group) has enlisted Curtiss-Wright’s Defense Solutions division to provide a COTS-based telemetry data system for ELV SpA's new mid-sized Vega-C launcher. And ELV SpA knows what they want as they are the major contractor on the Vega-C Launcher System and GPM Development and Qualification Program for the European Space Agency (ESA).
This agreement represents the first use of Curtiss-Wright’s new radiation tolerant Smart Backplane technology on a European launch vehicle. Under the contract, Curtiss-Wright will provide ELV with a full telemetry system, including data acquisition, data handling,and RF transmission. The Vega-C development contract runs from January 2017 until first launch in June 2019, with a value estimated at $5 million. The value of the subsequent production phase is estimated at more than $10 million over the lifetime of the program.
The Vega-C rocket will be launched from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. ESA’s requirement for Vega-C flights include a minimum of three launches per year, with expected demand for at least four per year. Curtiss-Wright will develop and manufacture the telemetry system for Vega-C at its facilities in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland’s industrial and research participation in the programs of ESA is coordinated by Enterprise Ireland in collaboration with the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation.
Despite the Vega-C's mid-size, the craft is designed to deliver government, commercial, and science payloads weighing three tons or less, such as small satellite constellations to low-Earth orbit while appreciating the goal of keeping the cost down. ESA’s goal is for the Vega-C launcher to serve as a next-generation launch vehicle that is able to support the same, or greater, mission objectives as the original Vega launcher, but at reduced cost, which is why Curtiss-Wright’s cost-effective COTS electronics systems approach was selected to support this challenging goal.
Lynn Bamford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Defense Solutions division declared, “We are very excited about being selected by ELV to provide our cost-effective Space COTS telemetry system for use on the Vega-C, especially as this is our first avionics design win on a European launcher. Our unique Smart Backplane technology enables radiation tolerant electronics to be used in many applications across many market sectors, allowing lower cost COTS modules to be reliably used in harsh space environments.”
John Halligan T.D. Ireland’s Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation added, “This is a significant achievement by an Irish-based operation working at the cutting edge of space technologies. This contract award demonstrates how Irish operations, such as Curtiss-Wright’s business unit in Dublin, are developing technologies to the highest levels of performance and reliability for the European space program. These technologies have the potential to lead to increased sales in the global market and the creation of high value jobs in Irish operations in line with the Government’s strategy for Ireland’s membership in ESA.”