SENER and ELV SpA sign an agreement to develop the new VEGA-C navigation equipment

23/06/2017 (France)
SENER and ELV SpA sign an agreement to develop the new VEGA-C navigation equipment

The engineering and technology firm SENER has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ELV SpA, the Italian prime contractor of the VEGA-C launcher. The agreement lays the foundations of a solid SENER-ELV cooperation for the development of the new VEGA-C Navigation Equipment (VNE).

The Director of SENER’s Space Department - Diego Rodríguez, and the ELV’s Managing Director - Andrea Preve, signed the agreement at the most important trade fair of the aerospace sector at Le Bourget - Paris, France. The event was also attended by ESA VEGA-C Program Manager and by representatives of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI in Spanish).

A new Navigation Equipment for VEGA-C

In 2016 an evaluation of the medium/long-term requirements for the VEGA-C launcher’s avionics highlighted the need to development a new replacement of the current Inertial Reference System (IRS).

In this perspective SENER and ELV initiated a feasibility study to evaluate the most relevant technologies and innovations for the new Navigation equipment, also aiming to reduce the recurrent cost of the launcher avionics. The result of the study points towards a hybrid GNSS-Inertial navigation solution that the team has named NAVIGA: NAvigation equipment for Vegaan Inertial-GNSS Assembly.

The MOU assigns to SENER the lead of VNE-NAVIGA. The VEGA navigation unit will be delivered to ELV for its final qualification within the launcher guidance, navigation and control system.

The development team will be integrated by SENER (Spain), ELV itself, and LEONARDO (Italy) that will provide the Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) and the unit power supply. In addition to that, SENER will involve the Spanish firm DEIMOS in the project, bringing its expertise in GNSS-receivers.  

NAVIGA will reinforce Spain-Italy cooperation in European Launchers

The Spanish and Italian companies consider the VNE-NAVIGA as a key element in their collaboration in the ESA’s launcher programs. The Italy-Spain relationship proved to be successful in the first generation of VEGA (now operational), as well as in the Intermediate Experimental re-entry Vehicle (IVX) that was flawlessly launched in February 2016.

A higher level of participation of Spanish firms in VEGA-C was successfully achieved at the las ESA Ministerial Conference (December 2016) enabled, steaming the creation of the SENER-ELV-LEONARDO team for VNE-NAVIGA. This unit will be developed within the VEGA-C framework, but it could also be used as key navigation sensor in Space Rider (IXV follow-on), where Italy and Spain are major stakeholders.

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