Nearly 1000 satellites were separated in orbit with separation systems from RUAG Space. The company is leading the commercial market in this area.

“We are leading the commercial market and we provide all the larger launchers in the world with equipment for launching satellites in all sizes,” says Holger Wentscher, Vice President Product Group Launchers at RUAG Space. © RUAG Space

With nearly 1000 satellites separated in orbit the Swiss-based space supplier RUAG Space is leading the world market for satellite separation systems for commercial launch vehicles. “Our separation systems ensure that satellite and launcher remain securely attached to one another during the tough journey into space, and then deliver the valuable payloads into orbit with precision – and with the specified relative velocity, potential spin or transverse spin,” says Holger Wentscher, Vice President Product Group Launchers at RUAG Space.

Separation systems for all large launch vehicles in the world

All nearly 1000 satellite separations have been carried out with a 100 percent success rate. They are the result of a long and trusted collaboration with NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA) and an increasingly advanced position in the commercial space industry in recent years. “We are leading the commercial market and we provide all the larger launchers in the world with equipment for launching satellites in all sizes,” says Holger Wentscher.

Dispensers for OneWeb constellation

RUAG Space produces for example the dispensers for the OneWeb internet satellite constellation, with currently more than 200 satellites in orbit – all of them separated from the launch vehicle and placed in the correct orbit by dispensers from RUAG Space. Dispenser systems from RUAG Space make it possible to separate multiple satellites in a specific order in order to get exactly the right orbit. “Our dispensers are super-light and include state-of-the-art technology to safely place the satellites in orbit,” highlights Holger Wentscher. The size differs from customer to customer, a dispenser for OneWeb for example has a 1.7 meters central cylinder structure and a height of 5.5 meters. At its lower interface the dispenser structure is bolted to the launch vehicle upper stage. Each spacecraft is attached to the dispenser in separation nodes. The RUAG Space dispenser provides a stiff connection in each node during launch, a safe release and an accurate separation provided by the four separation nuts and spring units. The electrical harness consists of redundant umbilical cables to each spacecraft, a harness to the pyrotechnical initiators as well as an instrumentation harness.

Leading supplier for satellite constellations

RUAG Space produces the dispensers for the OneWeb constellation and placed the currently more than 200 satellites in the correct orbit. © Dhelft, Arianespace.

Dispenser systems from RUAG Space are used for multiple satellite launches. They are especially suitable for spacecraft constellations, where a large number of spacecrafts need to be placed in orbit in a short time frame. Apart from the OneWeb internet satellite constellation RUAG Space successfully placed satellites of the European satellite navigation constellation Galileo, the TerraBella Earth observation satellite constellation and the Canadian Radarsat constellation of Earth observation. “For us, every separation is an exciting achievement. We can offer a 100% reliability and are able to meet customer expectations in the extreme environment of space,” says Holger Wentscher.

Separation of return-to-earth capsules

RUAG Space also offers dedicated systems for special applications like in-orbit separation of return-to-earth capsules. Furthermore, RUAG Space offers clamp-band as well as hard point separation systems. The RUAG Space low-shock clamp-band separation system is the industry standard for any payload.

Payload Adapter Systems

RUAG Space offers a broad spectrum of Payload Adapter Systems compatible with most satellite buses used in the world today. “Our services include support to our customer through all program phases up to the successful separation of the satellite in orbit,” says Holger Wentscher. The Payload Adapters are tailored to customers’ needs and manufactured out of aluminum or carbon fiber composite technologies.

40 years of experience

The separation systems from RUAG Space are being produced at its site in Linköping, Sweden. RUAG Space has been developing and producing them for around 40 years. “A period during which we have accumulated vast experience, and supplied our products to an ever-growing number of customers,” says Holger Wentscher. “We constantly try go get better and to develop new products. Our latest product ‘Soft Separation System’ makes our separation systems useful for the next generation satellites with better performance and lower shock.” At the RUAG Space site in Linköping about 140 employees are working.

 RUAG Space: Leading supplier to the space industry

RUAG Space is the leading supplier to the space industry in Europe, and has a growing presence in the United States. Around 1,300 employees across six countries (Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, USA and Finland) develop and manufacture products for satellites and launch vehicles—for both the institutional and commercial space market. RUAG Space is part of RUAG International, a Swiss technology group, which is divided into four divisions: Space, Aerostructures, MRO International and Ammotec. Visit, or view our RUAG Space product portfolio video: