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USHIO launches space supply deal with ETS

In a move that reinforces our position as the world’s leading provider of xenon light sources, Ushio Europe is proud to announce a new 5 year supply deal with European Test Services (ETS) BV. This will be of little surprise to European space industry insiders, with USHIO having a long history of participation in the testing of hardware designed for extra-terrestrial missions.

As the operator of the European Space Agency (ESA) test facility at Noordwijk, the Netherlands, ETS specialises in replicating the harsh conditions facing equipment to be launched beyond our atmosphere. One fault or weakness can lead to the loss of equipment worth tens of millions, or in the worst cases, catastrophic loss of life, which is why the ETS has been able to build a stellar reputation. Approaching a landmark 20 years of operation in 2020, the Franco-German venture by Airbus Defence & Space SAS and IABG mbH has found a niche “in the domains of shock, vibration, acoustic noise, thermal vacuum, space simulation, EMC and more”.

USHIO technology replicates the power of the Sun

USHIO recently celebrated as the BepiColombo spacecraft reached a major milestone, performing its first ‘thrust arc’ as it hurtles towards Mercury. Expected to begin the first of six flybys three years after its October 2018 launch, the expedition is the result of cooperation between the ESA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). USHIO were involved in the creation of solar simulation conditions at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC), to ensure the 4,100kg craft could handle a solar intensity 10 times that on Earth. With mission temperatures soaring above 450°C, ESTEC’s Large Space Simulator had to be specially modified to deliver a comparably sweltering environment. Our solar simulation array in this instance consisted of multiple xenon short arc lamps, each capable of blasting 25,000W at the Mercury-bound spacecraft.

One small step for man, one giant leap for the Netherlands

The future of spacefaring looks exciting for the Dutch, especially when considering the proposal of Royal Schiphol Group and renowned Dutch astronaut André Kuipers to turn Schiphol Airport into a spaceport for private travellers by 2030. Indeed, with Schiphol-based USHIO maintaining a close relationship with NASA, JAXA, and ESA, the news that ETS have also recently secured a long-term partnership with ESA will add weight to the Netherlands establishing itself as an important hub for European space endeavours.

The new deal struck by Ushio Europe will guarantee supply, delivery, and technical support to ETS, relevant to the provision of the USHIO 25kW xenon space simulation testing lamps, until the end of 2023. Igor Nagorski, Business Development Manager, commented “it is a great honour for USHIO to serve as a supplier of choice to ETS, and to continue supporting the exploration of the remote corners of our solar system. This is all part of a giant leap for the Netherlands to secure a position at the forefront of the aeronautical and space industries, while ensuring their role in the local economy for years to come.”

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