Payload Equipment and Robotics


RUAG Space, with their partners ETH, DLR and vH&S is developing the ExoMars Rover Locomotion System. It is tested at the RUAG Space facilities in Zurich with special equipment that simulates the Martian soil, thus helping to predict the future behaviour of the rover on Mars. The rover will have to find its way in this extreme environment by itself and avoid or overcome all the obstacles. A mobile suspension mechanism, six motorised flexible metallic wheels and a motion control and navigation system will equip the ExoMars rover for the exploration of the red planet.


RUAG Space has developed a full range of covers for diverse instruments like Rosina from Rosetta, SOVIM from ISS, Lyra from Proba and for FEEP using Caesium gas.

For ESA's XMM-Newton Space Telescope, RUAG Space has developed a Reversible Deployment Mechanism for opening and closing of a venting and outgassing door, and a spring driven, non-reversible Lightweight Deployment Mechanism (LDM) for in-orbit opening of cover doors of an optical aperture.

Laser Chopper and Flip Flop Mechanisms

RUAG Space is the only company in Europe that can provide the customers with these miniaturised mechanisms. These products have been developed for Aladin an instrument of Aeolus. Missions like EarthCare, MeteoSat Third Generation are further potential applications.

Laser Chopper Mechanism

  • 100 Hz operation frequency, 0.3 mm displacement
  • diaphragm with 0.1 mm diameter
  • open loop control system
  • quasi-isostatic mounting  

Flip Flop Mechanism

  • 12 mm stroke length
  • low shock paraffin actuator
  • quasi-isostatic mounting

Scalable Rotary Actuator (SRA)

The SRA product line proposes a range of actuators developed primarily for space robotic joints. However, it is generally designed for applications that require a high torque to mass ratio. A modular design and stiff interfaces allow the integration of a multi-joint robotic arm. Typical uses include mechanisms for handling of small to medium-sized parts (e.g. an instrument deployment device on a rover).

The housing of the actuator is made of high-strength Aluminium. The hollow shaft design allows the routing of a central signal and power harness. A holding brake is available as an option.

The actuator provides interfaces for the control of the motor and for the monitoring of various sensors (e.g. winding temperature, torque). An additional absolute electric encoder is implemented that allows to achieve a high position accuracy on the output axis (0.25 mrad).

The SRA's are available in 3 different sizes (L, M, S) with a torque range of 60 to 200 Nm peak. 

Cryogenic Mechanisms

RUAG Space has developed many cryogenic mechanisms. One of them is for the “Mid Infrared Instrument” (MIRI) of the “James Webb Space Telescope” (JWST). The “Contamination Control Cover” (CCC), developed, manufactured and qualified by RUAG Space, has the function of protecting the MIRI against external particular and molecular contamination during ground testing and the out-gassing of the spacecraft after launch. In addition, the cover will be used to block the sky for dark current calibration and to protect the detector during chronographic observations.

  • Operational temperature range between room temperature and 7 K
  • > 2570 open/close cycles in orbit
  • Mass: 0.6 kg
  • Power consumption: < 40 mW @ 7 K