Antwerp Space is a subsidiary of listed technology group OHB SE (ISIN DE0005936124) and is part of OHB's Business Unit Space Systems and provides expertise as well as system solutions for European space programs and commercial space applications worldwide—and the company has now officially opened their new clean room.
In this ultra-modern, secured work space, the Antwerp based company will be making components for various, international space projects. Antwerp Space’s new clean room in Hoboken (with a ground surface of 100 m² and a height of 3 m) is designated category ISO 8 and will offer a protected environment in which the level of dust particles, the temperature (around 22°) and the relative humidity (about 55 percent) are strictly managed, to avoid corrosion or electrical breakdowns.
Starting in November 2016, Antwerp Space will be using their new clean room for the production and integration of components for the European Space Agency (ESA). The firm is responsible for the communication subsystem of the carrier module for ExoMars, the collaboration between ESA and the Russian Space Agency Roscosmos. There are two missions... the first—an orbiter and a lander—was launched on March 14th and has just arrived at the Red Planet. Part two of the mission—a surface platform which will land on Mars and a rover that will explore the planet’s surface—is planned for 2020 and the rover will be flown to Mars on board a carrier module.
One of the scientific instruments on board the surface platform is LaRa (Lander Radioscience). The LaRa mission was designed by a scientific team from the Royal Observatory of Belgium and will also be engineered and delivered by Antwerp Space. LaRa is comprised of sophisticated communication equipment that will be used for Mars to Earth communications. The analysis of the radio signals characteristics received on Earth will enable the scientists to improve our knowledge of the Red Planet's orientation and rotation, and ultimately understand better its internal structure. LaRa will be the first Belgian instrument to ever land on the Red Planet.
Antwerp Space is also responsible for designing, assembling and testing the communication subsystem on the JUICE spacecraft. JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) is planned for launch in 2022 and arrival at Jupiter in 2029. JUICE will spend at least three years conducting detailed observations of the giant gaseous planet Jupiter and three of its largest moons, Ganymede, Callisto and Europa and will be the first spacecraft ever to orbit a moon (Ganymede) of this giant planet.
Finally, Antwerp Space is also developing ARGO, a highly innovative modem. The first instance of this modem will be used in a new Ka-band data relay terminal communication terminal to be attached to the ESA Columbus module of the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018. The equipment developed by Antwerp Space consists of an advanced modem that uses a high-performing encoding technology for the very first time in Europe. This modem will enable faster communication from the ISS to the Earth via the new European Data Relay Satellite System (EDRS).