Solar Orbiter, the probe in the Space thanks to Ecor International

The company, specialized in the production of welded components for space and aircrafts, by performing outgassing treatments on the titanium foils of the heat shield, contributed to the mission culminating with the launch of the probe on Monday February 10th from Cape Canaveral.

On Monday, February 10th at 05:03 GMT+1, the Solar Orbiter was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The ESA and NASA probe will approach regions of the solar system never explored before for studying the magnetic field of the sun.

Ecor International specialized, besides other activities, in the production of welded components for space vehicles and aircrafts, has carried out some crucial processes for the functioning of this spacecraft.

Titnanium foils of the Solar Orbiter Heat Shield: Ecor International has carried out some outgassing treatments.

Indeed, the company was involved in the creation of a specific module commissioned to Thales Alenia Space, the Solar Orbiter Heat Shield (SOHS), without which the mission would not have been possible. The heat shield has the function of protecting the spacecraft from heat when the probe will approach the sun in about two years. Powerful telescopes, which must be shielded to withstand high temperatures, have been installed to collect information and images of the sun.

Ecor International has carried out some outgassing treatments on dozens of titanium foils covering the shield. These components were placed for tens of hours in a high-vacuum oven at a temperature that reaches 600 degrees: the operation allowed the elimination of impurities on the surface and the stabilization of the black protective coating whose composition is secret.

The high-vacuum oven of Ecor International for welded components for spacecrafts.
The high-vacuum oven of Ecor International.

The high-vacuum furnace is a state-of-the-art plant that carries out special brazing processes and heat treatments for the production of welded components for space vehicles and is capable of reaching 1,400 degrees. Ecor International SpA has also designed and manufactured a support equipment for these foils in order to lie them in the oven, enabling the release of the residual tensions due to the coating.

«Recent company strategy, involving investment in high-quality technical-scientific skills to acquire competitiveness on international markets, has been successful, – states Fabrizio Casadei, Ecor International General Manager-. Ecor International pillars in the roadmap 2030 are, indeed, its cutting-edge manufacturing and the supporting R&D Industrial Center».

«We are honoured to have contributed with our skills to this important international project – says Rinaldo Rigon, Ecor International Aerospace Key Account Manager and Project Manager-. Our participation was possible thanks to the highly qualified personnel, the advanced technologies and the passing of the qualification test on titanium foils, that successfully met the requirements in terms of cleanliness and resistance to radiations». 

The company is carrying out other Space projects for which is producing welded components for space and air crafts such as Orion MPCV (NASA) – we talked about them in this post –  Cygnus PCM (NASA) and PLATiNO (ASI).