Electrical switching & drive systems & components


maxon goes to Mars

4th Quarter 2012 Electrical switching & drive systems & components

The landing of the Mars rover Curiosity took seven exciting minutes. Now it is looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. Encoder technology from maxon is playing a part in the successful excursion of the rover.

The new Mars rover Curiosity ended its six month long journey to Mars with a successful landing on August 6th 2012. In contrast to the rovers Opportunity and Spirit, Curiosity can travel further distances on its six wheels and run longer without solar energy, as a radionuclide battery gives energy for years.

Along with an impressive array of equipment, Curiosity also has maxon products on board. The company’s MR Encoder technology is built into the electromechanic joints of the rover. The magnetic sensors are mounted on the drive shafts and are responsible for controlling the motors. Apart from that, maxon development services for the drive systems have also played a part in the 900 kilogram rover being able to carry out its Mars Mission successfully.

For the past eight years, Curiosity’s little brother Opportunity has been exploring Mars with the help of maxon motors. A further success for maxon is the SpaceX mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Brushless EC motors were used to move the two solar panels which always have to be facing the sun. Numerous research satellites nearer to Earth will also be fitted with maxon drives. The next one is the ESA Sentinel 3 which will fly into space in 2013. Here maxon motors will be used in the event of an emergency to control and secure the fuel valves.

For more information contact Hans Burri, DNH Tradeserve, +27 (0)11 468 2722, hans.burri@dnhtrade.co.za, www.dnhtrade.co.za



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