Conductix-Wampfler provides energy and data transmission for ESA Mobile Assembly Building

Ariane 6 Launch Pad

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In 2020, the new Ariane 6 launch vehicle will make her maiden flight and Conductix-Wampfler, one of the world's leading manufacturers of systems for energy and data transmission to mobile machinery, will help get it off the ground.

The European Space Agency (ESA) decided on a faster, more productive assembly method motivated by international competition. As a result, a new launch pad is required and work is in full swing right now in Kourou, French Guiana. The ESA awarded the construction to the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES), Eiffage was selected as the general contractor, and its subsidiary EES-Clemessy is in charge of Energy and Data systems.

Conductix-Wampfler was selected to provide MAG Drive BNA 47 motorized cable reels for the project. "It is a great honor for us that our motor driven cable reels have been selected for the energy and data transmission to the mobile assembly building," says Yvan Bogucki, project manager at Conductix-Wampfler in Belley, France.

The rocket stages and boosters for Ariane 6 will be assembled in the vertical launch position on the launch pad itself. The rocket’s subsystems will be pre-fabricated in a hangar and transported to the launch pad, set up and lifted in the Mobile Assembly Building (MAB) using dedicated overhead cranes. The 9,000-ton, 90-meter high mobile building runs on rails and will be moved back 141 meters only eight hours before the launch. To ensure that the countdown goes smoothly, correct movement of the assembly portal is therefore mission-critical.

MAG Drive motorized cable reels

The drives of the MAB are supplied with power using two redundant MAG Drive BNA 47 motorized cable reels to ensure the reliable movement of the assembly building in the tropical climate. The motorized cable reels are equipped with a CN MAG Drive, a 24 kV slip ring, and a rotary fiber optic transmitter (TFO) for 24 single-mode fibers. The Conductix-Wampfler MAG Coupler solution generates constant torque using a magnetic field instead of a mechanical connection. Conductix-Wampfler MAG Couplers resists sea-spray and dust exposure, which makes them perfectly suited for the harsh environmental conditions in Kourou. "Fiber optics are ideal for the transmission of large volumes of data and provide highly secure and reliable data transmission. Conductix-Wampfler developed the most compact uninterrupted fiber rotary transmitter suitable for industrial use, called TFO," Bogucki said.

The BNA 47 motorized cable reels, control cabinets, and high-voltage and fiber optic connection cabinets were all assembled at Conductix-Wampfler’s plant in Belley, France, where the customer validated the systems prior to being shipped to Kourou. The Ariane 6 rocket itself is still under development. The first tests for the rocket are planned for 2020.