PLATO (PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) is an astronomical mission dedicated to detection and characterization of terrestrial exoplanets. This space observatory will be performing long uninterrupted high precision observations of large samples of stars. The emphasis of PLATO is on earth-like planets in the habitable zone around sun-like stars. The mission will provide an order of magnitude improvement in scientific performance compared to previous missions.
OUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE PROJECT
OHB Czechspace is responsible for complete structural numerical analysis (using finite element analysis methods) and verification of the wound-composite Central Tube, including its composite cleats (interface to the Shear Webs of the Service Module sub-system) and the aluminium LVA interface ring (interface to the launcher). The Central Tube is analysed for its stiffness, buckling, and strength while considering various boundary conditions like ground transportation, flight events, and in-orbit thermal loads. The analyses involve a number of optimizations in terms of mass, stiffness, and strength and are performed in cooperation with our partners and customers.
OHB Czechspace is also responsible for a static load test of the Central Tube with regard to performing the test predictions, supervision of the testing itself, and correlation of the tested data with the outcomes from numerical simulations.
The PLATO Central Tube successfully passed the preliminary design review phase at the end of 2020 and currently is approaching the phase of manufacturing and testing. The static load test campaign is about to be launched soon, and preparations will begin shortly with the objective of successfully completing the static load test in May 2022.
This scientific astronomical mission was initiated by the European Space Agency (ESA), which is from this point of view also the end-customer. The so-called prime customer and main facilitator of the entire PLATO mission is our sister company OHB System. The service module sub-system is the responsibility of SAB Aerospace, which outsourced development of the Central Tube to a consortium consisting of OHB Czechspace and INVENT.