Dispenser systems are used for multiple satellite launches. This is especially suitable for spacecraft constellations where a number of spacecrafts need to be placed in orbit in a short time frame.
RUAG Space in Sweden is the prime contractor and has the system responsibility for the GalileoSat dispenser system to be used in the IOV phase.
The major parts of the dispenser system are:
- the structure subsystem
- the separation system
- the electrical harness
- the thermal subsystem
At its lower interface the dispenser structure is bolted to the launch vehicle upper stage. Each spacecraft is attached to the dispenser in four separation nodes. The RUAG dispenser provides a stiff connection in each node during launch, a safe release and an accurate separation provided by the four separation nuts and spring units. The electrical harness consists of redundant umbilical cables to each spacecraft, a harness to the pyrotechnical initiators as well as an instrumentation harness.
The GalileoSat dispenser to be used in the IOV phase carries two satellites and will be launched on Soyuz. RUAG Space has also studied dispensers for launch constellations of four and six satellites. Mechanical ground support equipment, such as integration stand and spacecraft lifting device, to be used during ground operations is an essential part of the product included in the RUAG responsibility.
In addition RUAG Space has under an ESA contract (18917/05/NL/AD) performed work including tests on low shock separation nut systems for dispenser applications.