Oberkochen, Germany, 19 October 2018 – HENSOLDT's Optronics business line has received an order from the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR). HENSOLDT supplies essential elements of the Ganymede Laser Altimeter (GALA), which will be used in the JUICE mission (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) of the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the Jupiter moon Ganymede. Jupiter's Galilean moons Europe, Kallisto and Ganymede will be explored. The launch of the satellite is planned for 2022, with arrival in the Jupiter system in 2029.
"The main objective of the Ganymede Laser Altimeter is to topographically measure the ice moon Ganymede in the Jupiter system from the satellite in orbit. As the satellite repeatedly flies over predefined points during the three-and-a-half-year mission, it is also possible to determine changes in the elevation profile," reports Project Manager Kai Weidlich. For example, information on tidal effects or the structure of the subsurface can be obtained. This includes, for example, finding out whether there is liquid water beneath Ganymede's surface.
HENSOLDT supplies the so-called "Transceiver Unit" and the "Laser Electronics Unit", which controls the laser transmitter. "We started developing the concept for GALA almost four years ago," says Weidlich. "We are currently in the C/D phase of the development project.
One of the special technical challenges in the Jupiter system is the immense ionizing radiation load caused by the capture of high-energy charged particles in Jupiter’s strong magnetic field. The spacecraft must pass through this intense radiation belt and therefore be protected accordingly. The laser transmitter is powered by solar panels. Due to the large distance to the sun, however, power is only available to a limited extent.
HENSOLDT is a global pioneer of technology and innovation in the area of defence and security electronics. The company is a market leader in civilian and military sensor solutions, developing new products to counter evolving threats based on disruptive concepts in such fields as big data, robotics and cyber security. With a workforce of some 4,300 employees, HENSOLDT generates revenues of more than 1 billion euros per year.
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