Argotec, Comau Announce ATENA for Nanosatellites

Argotec, Italian aerospace engineering company, and Comau, worldwide leader in delivering advanced industrial automation products and systems, present ATENA, aimed at testing and validating the functionality of nanosatellites.

ATENA (Advanced Testing Emulator for Nanosatellite Arm) simplifies simulations of satellite performance, generally carried out through complex numerical analysis and tests of hardware, software, navigation and control algorithms, which usually return results difficult to interpret.

The system, born from the intuition of Argotec (which has also registered a patent) and the collaboration with Comau, consists of a satellite or part of it, an electronic control unit and a Comau robot. The nanosatellite, or part of it, is fastened to the wrist of the robot which, thanks to a closed loop configuration, recreates the movement of the satellite in orbit, during the different phases of a mission. This solution allows to test all the communication protocols of the system, verifying also the interaction between all the components. The robot chosen is the Racer7 1.4, the fastest in its class, which guarantees reliability and precision in a compact mechanism. This new approach is so realistic and versatile that it can be used from the early design stages of a satellite.

ATENA represents a real breakthrough in the aerospace sector. Using the robot, it’s possible to monitor the satellite’s functionality and observe its behavior directly. This guarantees a more immediate and simple visualization of the test results, as well as the possibility to carry out flight demos. Moreover, two or more robots can faithfully reproduce in-orbit satellite docking. 

About Argotec

Argotecis an Italian aerospace engineering company established in 2008, whose research, innovation and development activities concern the creation of products and services intended for various sectors, such as engineering, information technology, system integration, Human Space Flight and Operation, the development of solutions in the field of renewable energy and the design and manufacturing of small satellites. The Argotec unit dedicated to nanosatellites deals with all the phases that lead to the development of these systems: from design to assembly, to the integration and testing of each component. Among the company’s ongoing projects in this sector, we can mention ArgoMoon, the only European satellite selected by NASA and coordinated by the Italian Space Agency to participate in the Exploration Mission-1, that will test Space Launch System (SLS), the new American launcher. Argotec’s research and development activity has always been focused on the creation of innovative systems and services able to obtainapplications which enhance space systems but also result in an improvement oflife on Earth.

About Comau

Comau, a member of the FCA Group, is a worldwide leader in delivering advanced industrial automation products and systems. Combining innovative engineering solutions with enabling technologies, Comau helps companies leverage the full potential of digital manufacturing.

In addition to a vast range of modular, flexible and highly-configurable products, Comau offers interconnected digital service solutions able to transmit, elaborate and analyze important machine and process data, thereby increasing efficiency for smart manufacturing. The full portfolio includes: joining, assembly and machining solutions for traditional and electric vehicles, robotized manufacturing systems, a complete family of robots with extensive range and payload configurations, autonomous logistics, and asset optimization services with real-time monitoring and control capabilities. The offering also extends to project management and consultancy, IoT services, and maintenance and training for a wide range of industrial segments.

Headquartered in Turin, Italy, Comau has over 45 years of factory-proven experience and an international network of 36 locations, 15 manufacturing plants and 5 innovation centers that span 17 countries and employ more than 9,000 people. A global network of distributors and partners allows the company to respond quickly to the needs of customers of all sizes, no matter where they are located throughout the world. Comau is also committed to improving human – machine collaboration by developing competencies through the formation of individuals and groups as part of its open automation approach. This includes hands-on training programs by Comau Academy that develop the technical and managerial competencies necessary to face the challenges and opportunities of Industry 4.0.

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