Gilmour Space and SENER Aeroespacial will collaborate for the Eris rocket

Gilmour Space Technologies and SENER Aeroespacial, a SENER engineering and technology group company, are working together on an Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) for the Eris launch vehicle, which is being developed for the small satellite market.

The AFTS is an intelligent hardware/software unit with autonomous decision capability responsible for aborting a flight if anomalies are identified. SENER Aeroespacial claims that this system is of the highest criticality and will undergo a strict certification process.

SENER Aeroespacial is currently working on the first phase, developing the necessary software processing algorithms to collect and analyze flight/vehicle parameters, identify deviations from the nominal trajectory and/or vehicle state, and send, if necessary , the command to end the mission. The goal is to have the first prototype ready, in collaboration with Gilmour Space, for testing and certification before Eris’ first launch later this year.

SENER Aerospacial says the goal of the project is to “successfully develop and demonstrate equivalence with current ground systems in terms of performance and reliability, providing launch service providers and government launch organizations the ability to replace legacy systems that rely on expensive ground-based facilities and require an operator response manual to terminate the mission”.

The development of the AFTS is expected to bring a new paradigm in launcher operations by both improving their versatility, allowing more launches from locations other than traditional launch centers; and their efficiency, by reducing the cost of operations.

This development builds on SENER’s launcher heritage with AVIO’s NAVIGA hybrid navigation unit, which will first be used on the European VEGA-C launcher.

“This new contract reinforces our leading position in a growing market in Europe, that of mid-cost space systems that offer good performance and high reliability,” said Augusto Caramagno, Director of Institutional Programs at SENER Aeroespacial. “AFTS also joins our portfolio of highly critical on-board systems within the strategic PNT (Positioning, Navigation and Timing) line, where SENER Aeroespacial has considerable experience and has gained a competitive advantage.”

For Gilmour Space, this international collaboration is another example of its growing focus on European markets.

“It’s great to work with SENER Aeroespacial, an established space company with a strong track record in delivering high performance systems,” said Adam Gilmour, CEO of Gilmour Space. “Given the progress, we are confident that we will have a robust AFTS ready for our first Eris rocket launch in the second half of 2022.”

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