Separation Mechanisms

Separation Systems for Satellites

The separation mechanism for the Cassini/Huygens mission was developed by RUAG Space Three mechanisms are housed in one integral fitting for the separation from Cassini, the front shield sparation, and the back cover separation.

  • Separation via Pyro-nuts and bolt-cutters
  • Ejection by means of compressed springs
  • Spin-up of probe via helical tracks and rollers
  • Precise separation trajectory:
    - V-axial = 0.3 m/s, 
    - V-lateral < 25 mm/s
    - Spin = 6 rpm
  • Umbilical connectors separation system
  • Small volume and low mass (23 kg)

Low Shock Release Unit

This hold down and release mechanism is used to hold the stowed solar array panels down to the satellite sidewall during launch and to release the panels on orbit for deployment.

The basic principle of the low shock release unit is the conversion of strain energy (preload) into rotation admitting a gentle energy dissipation and a smooth release actuation with a minimum mechanical shock.

  • Preload 33 kN
  • Stack height up to 250 mm
  • Energy relief time 3-5 times slower as the strain relief of a conventional release unit, e.g. split tool device, reduced shock on the equipment in the vicinity of the LSRU.

Hold Down and Release Mechanism

Space mechanisms e.g. antenna pointing devices, require a load release during ground operations and launch. This is achieved by so called “Hold Down and Release Mechanisms” (HRM or HDRM).

The HRM units are designed to compensate for the tolerance mismatch between antenna dimensions and the location of their fixation points on the spacecraft. To damp the release shock acting on the reflector antenna, a special damper system is used.

  • M10 pyronut with fully redundant NSI initiators
  • Capability to compensate for manufacturing and assembly errors
  • Shock release damper system reducing the overall shock level by one order of magnitude