ETS - A System for Transportation of Small Satellite and Flight Hardware

The Space programme in the country is executed through ISRO Centre/Units spread across the country, each one with a specific responsibility ranging from the conceptual design to building and operating variety of space systems. The satellites, which are built at ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), Bengaluru needs to be transported to the country’s spaceport at Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), Sriharikota for the launch. Towards the safe transportation of satellites, ISAC has designed and developed Satellite Transportation System (STS) and transported many satellites safely to Sriharikota.

Assembly, Integration and Testing (AIT) of satellites invariably demand safe movement of flight hardware such as equipment panels, payloads and multiple satellites (Mini/Micro/Nano) between various fabrication, integration and test facilities. Towards this, Equipment Transportation System (ETS) is designed and developed by Systems Integration Group (SIG), ISAC to adapt for varied transportation requirements of flight hardware within minimum turnaround time for modular conversion, test and validation processes. It is sized (7.88 m x 3.0 m x 3.9 m) to meet the ongoing and envisaged flight hardware of ISRO’s Space Programme.

The transportation system designed must protect the space hardware against all environment hazards encountered during transportation. The STS is built with a suspension cradle that attenuates shock, vibration and handling loads. Double walled thermally insulated, sealed encapsulation structure of STS shields satellite from climatic hazards such as temperature, humidity, contamination, rain, dust, differential pressure, etc. Robust all metallic Faraday’s cage design and low resistance electrical bonding of STS provides Electro Static Discharge (ESD) path and protection against RF radiation hazards.

In addition to these, ETS needs to be equipped with four overhead hoists (remote controlled) that operate in tandem / selected combination. The hoists powered through bus bar (Harness free) and extendable outside for handling hardware. Also, modular suspension system is tuned for low frequency range of 5-7 Hz. The intermediate berth decks permitting utility at two levels are provided. Three-way opening door enables loading operations in confined laboratories. The flexible ductings are provided for even distribution of conditioned air to control temperature and humidity. These features make the system self-contained for performing operations without depending on external handling systems, devices or accessories. Further, a low-level air suspended trailer is used to haul ETS on road.

ETS has been used for transportation of many subsystems of ISRO’s Satellites which include: Transportation of LAPT module of Chandrayaan-2 from LPSC, Bengaluru to ISAC; Transportation of 4 nos of Flight panels (GSAT-6A South Panel, GSAT-6A EV Panel, IRNSS-1I South Panel and IRNSS-1I North Panel) from ISAC to SAC, Ahmedabad. Three Panels were accommodated at the base and one panel was accommodated on the intermediate deck; Transportation of GSAT-11 EV Payload module and Feeds (4Nos) from SAC to ISAC.

ISRO is scaling up its capacity to deliver more satellites per year, channelising the support of associated centres of ISRO, Indian industries and various institutions. Towards this, ETS developed by ISAC, cater to the requirement of transporting multiple flight hardware is very useful. Transportation of multiple systems together is more economical as compared to individual transportation,  resulting in reduced logistics and manpower. The response time incurred in preparation, testing, validation and certification of multiple systems has reduced significantly. ETS plays a critical role in throughput realization of multiple spacecraft  which is designed in-house by ISRO and realised by harnessing the support of Indian Industry.

ETS mounted on Air Suspended Trailer along with Environmental Control and Monitoring System (ECMS)

ETS mounted on Air Suspended Trailer along with Environmental Control and Monitoring System (ECMS)

 

Internal View of ETS

Internal View of ETS

 

LAPT module in ETS

LAPT module in ETS

 

GSAT-11 EV Payload Module being loaded to ETS

GSAT-11 EV Payload Module being loaded to ETS