Nexans supplies electrical harnesses for Europe's most ambitious scientific spacecraft, the Rosetta comet chaser
Paris, February 24, 2004 - Nexans, the worldwide leader in the cable industry, has produced electrical harnesses for the comet probe Rosetta for space infrastructure firm Astrium (United Kingdom and Germany), under a European Space Agency (ESA) contract.
It has taken engineers and technicians working for Nexans' harness production plant (situated on the outskirts of Brussels) three years to make the 12,000 electrical connections which will enable onboard equipment and systems to function correctly.
Cocooned inside a protective fairing on top of one of the world's most powerful rockets Ariane-5, the Rosetta comet probe will be launched on February 26, 2004. The probe is scheduled to reach its destination in 2014, almost 10 years after departure.
The role of Rosetta, which takes its name from the Rosetta Stone, is to help ESA researchers gather essential information about the formation of the solar system.
The probe should have been launched one year ago, but following improvements made on Ariane 5, the launch was postponed. It will be launched into orbit close to the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet, which it will accompany for eighteen months. The probe will pass Mars and the Otawara and Siwa asteroids before positioning itself in orbit around the comet in November 2014.
As specialists in spatial cabling, Nexans has already produced electrical harnesses for scientific mission satellites (Spot5, Jason, IASI, Mars Express) and telecommunications satellites (Globalstar, Express A and A1R, Hispasat, New Bird, Stellat and GE2i) and is currently manufacturing electrical harnesses for the Venus Express, Goce and Herschel & Planck satellites.
Carlo Bredt, Managing Director of Nexans' harness activity says: "Rosetta was of prime importance for Nexans, which has been present throughout the project, from the feasibility and development study through to qualification and installation on the customer's final integration site".
Nexans' electrical harnesses were also installed on the Mars Express probe, which visits Mars and deploys a lander to analyze ground samples for signs of life.