Goodrich Supplies Europe's first MEMS gyros for space navigation

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 16 Nov. 2010. Goodrich Corp. gyroscopes have passed in-orbit testing on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 satellite during a mission to detect shifts in global ice cover. The Goodrich microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyros were the smallest ever flown by ESA and were used to monitor the satellite's rate of spin. They were integrated into the SiREUS rate sensor to form Europe's first MEMS-based device to be used for space vehicle navigation.

Posted by Courtney E. Howard

CHARLOTTE, N.C., 16 Nov. 2010. Goodrich Corp. gyroscopes have passed in-orbit testing on the European Space Agency's (ESA) Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 satellite during a mission to detect shifts in global ice cover. The Goodrich microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyros were the smallest ever flown by ESA and were used to monitor the satellite's rate of spin. They were integrated into the SiREUS rate sensor to form Europe's first MEMS-based device to be used for space vehicle navigation.

“This sensor is based on a new concept and the flight experiment was very important for proving its feasibility,” explains Daniele Temperanza of ESA's Control Systems Division. “The satellite's precision ice measurements rely on knowing its orbital position and attitude very precisely requiring highly accurate navigation sensor performance.”

Three 1-square-centimeter (0.155-square-inch) MEMS gyros from Plymouth, U.K.-based Atlantic Inertial Systems (AIS), which was acquired by Goodrich in December 2009, lie at the heart of the SiREUS rate sensor. Running on six watts and weighing 1.65 pounds, the gyros are development extensions of units already used worldwide for automotive electronic stability control; their evolution for space was backed through ESA's Technology Programs with three U.K.-based industrial partners: Selex Galileo, AIS, and Systems Engineering and Assessment (SEA). SiREUS is now being made available commercially through Selex Galileo.

Ian Longden, director of MEMS Inertial Sensing Technology for Goodrich Sensors and Integrated Systems comments, “We've delivered over 18 million MEMS-based gyros around the world and the ESA program offered us the first opportunity to explore the potential of these gyros for the unique needs of the space sector.”

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