Robust and reliable hardware for space instruments
Reliable mechanisms are critical elements of space-instrument design. LASP’s Mechanical Engineering Group possesses a broad range of technical expertise in the design, development, and testing of space-flight, suborbital, and ground-based mechanical systems.
LASP’s mechanical designs are simple, use selective redundant components, and undergo extensive pre-flight testing. Common mechanisms that we design include mechanisms to steer or change out optics during flight; door mechanisms to protect instruments against contamination until they’re opened in space; and gimbal systems that move entire instrument suites as needed to point to targeted data sources. All design, analysis, fabrication, assembly, and testing are performed in house so that we produce consistently robust instrument hardware.
Detectors and electronics are at the heart of optical instruments; LASP combines innovative and proven design approaches along with material and surface treatment selection to meet the unique requirements of each instrument. Detectors and electronics are often co-located to reduce data “noise.” Delicate optics are treated carefully and often isolated to prevent contamination.
In addition to the mechanical “build” of an instrument, LASP mechanical engineers also work at the systems level. Thermal analysis ensures that the temperature of the instrument, once assembled, will work properly to dissipate heat generated during power production. Mechanical analysis ensures that the assembled instrument will be structurally sound and perform well after the vibrations of launch environment.