The objective of this activity is to develop, manufacture, characterise and validate European lubricants suitable for space mechanisms. European manufacturers of space mechanisms are highly reliant on space-approved fluids which are sourced outside Europe. In particular, cyclopentane oils – such as Nye 2001a – are routinely used in European spacecraft but are manufactured solely in the USA.As such, any political/economic action preventing their export, even if only of a temporary nature, could have important consequences on the ability of ESA-member states to produce fluid-lubricated mechanisms for space applications. Previously ESTL surveyed European-sourced fluid lubricants with potential for use in space mechanism applications (ESA-ESTL-TM-0021) and no European equivalent of Nye 2001a (a multiply alkylated cyclopentane oil) was identified.
Therefore, the purpose of the proposed activity will be to develop an European synthetic hydrocarbon oil suitable for use in space applications. This oil will have to have the ability to be formulated as a space compatible grease. The intended activity will consist of the following tasks: -Preparation of requirements specification, -Review and survey of relevant chemical compounds, materials, technologies and facilities, -Trade-off and definition of the candidate oils, -Definition of manufacturing specifications, processes and procedures, -Formulation of the most promising candidates, -Evaluation of rheological and tribological properties, -In-situ testing of the selected oils, At least 4 different oil formulations shall be fully developed and tested. Should the developed oil(s) be found acceptable for space mechanisms, then a follow on activity will consist of formulation a space compatible grease. Procurement Policy: C(1) = Activity restricted to non-prime contractors (incl. SMEs). For additional information please go to EMITS news (dated 05/02/2001) “Industrial Policy measures for non-primes, SMEsand R&D entities in ESA programmes”.
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