Fine Tubes To Supply Tubing for Europe’s Solar Orbiter

by

OHB-Sweden, a subsidiary of Germany’s OHB, has contracted with Fine Tubes of Plymouth, England, to provide specialized titanium tubing for use in the chemical propulsion system on the European Space Agency’s Solar Orbiter.

Under the contract, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, Fine Tubes will provide 100 meters of precision tubing that will have an outer diameter of 3.17 millimeters and an inner diameter of 2.66 millimeters, the company said in a May 7 press release.

“The challenging environment in which these tubes must operate necessitates traditional manufacturing processes be improved to meet the demanding technical requirements,” Paul Mallet, aerospace business development manager at Fine Tubes, said in a prepared statement.

Slated to launch in 2017 aboard a NASA-supplied rocket, the Solar Orbiter will fly within 45 million kilometers of the sun to examine how Earth’s star generates its magnetic field using sensors provided by ESA and NASA. In that orbit, which will take it closer to the sun than Mercury, the satellite will be exposed to extreme conditions including heavy bombardment by atomic radiation from coronal mass ejections.