Mecano ID, with help from CNES, making its first smallsat deployer

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A rendering of Mecano ID’s Ejection of Satellite System. Credit: Mecano ID.

WASHINGTON — Mecano ID, a supplier of spacecraft structures and radio-frequency components, is expanding into the smallsat business with the help of the French space agency CNES.

The deployer, still under development, is Mecano ID’s first smallsat product, Didier Zely, manager of Mecano ID’s deployment systems product line, said by email.

Based in Toulouse, France, Mecano ID is a 75-person company that counts on the space sector for 90% of its $10 million in annual revenue.

Zely said the company spent the last year developing the Ejection Of Satellite (EOS) separation system for smallsats between 20 and 60 kilograms.

The first deployer will be qualified and ready for launch opportunities during the second half of 2020, he said. Zely said CNES is helping identify launch opportunities for the dispenser.

The “NewSpace Factory,” a group of 10 small to medium sized French space companies working together to increase their international exposure, is also keeping watch for launch opportunities, he said.

Mecano ID is part of NewSpace Factory, a group whose members include smallsat builder Nexeya, smallsat antenna builder Anywaves, and mechanical systems provider Comat. Zely declined to say how much Mecano ID and CNES invested in the EOS system.

A wide range of companies, including launch providers, satellite manufacturers, rideshare providers and independent suppliers already produce separation systems. Zely said Mecano ID seeks to distinguish itself by creating a deployer that, among other things, is less than 4 kilograms, and holds satellites in place by holding only one side. Designing the EOS system to grip only one face of a satellite means other sides of the satellite can accommodate solar panels, antennas, sensors and other features without restrictions, he said.