28, April 2021

ESA Open Invitation to Tender: 1-10721
Open Date: 01/04/2021 10:45 GMT +3
Closing Date: 01/07/2021 13:00 GMT +3

The objective of the activity is to develop a novel lubrication system with long life for telecommunication satellite mechanisms (e.g. solar array drive mechanism). The lubricant shall have reduced sensitivity to environments (air, vacuum, etc.) in comparison to current lead-based lubricants that may be phased out with future regulation. Targeted Improvements: Reduced performance sensitivity(friction, wear) with respect to environment (air, vacuum, etc.) leading to 30% reduction in assembly, integration and test effort. Description: Telecommunication satellite platforms typically feature long life mechanisms, such as solar array drive mechanisms and antenna pointing mechanisms, where lubrication of ball bearings and gears is challenging and requires extra care compared to other applications. Long life mechanisms are designed to last for typically 15 years (> 106 revolutions over lifetime). A conventional solution to increase the life of ball bearings is to use a lead coating as the primary dry lubricant. However, in future the use of lead will be prohibited by REACH regulations (expected by around 2024), so it is critically important to guarantee a replacement lubrication solution. There is currently an absence of an alternative coating material immediately validated and available. Preliminary ESA investigations showed some promising results with the use of deposited Indium, although the deposition process would need optimisation. Further benefits in replacing lead lubricants could also be gained if the novel lubrication removes existing constraints. Forexample, lead degrades in air, which limits its use on ground and imposes protection measures in some cases, e.g. purging. Replacing thelead would improve testing of mechanisms, typically during acceptance, with reduction of workmanship duration and lower risks in ground life testing of mechanisms. Selection of the new dry lubricant should also consider other materials offering advantageous features, including reducing performance sensitivity to environmental conditions (e.g. vacuum, air, nitrogen) and higher electrical conductivity. This activity will trade-off potential lubricant materials and select at least one promising candidate. To substantiate thetrade-off, selected material(s) shall be mechanically tested to assess the performance sensitivities to environmental conditions (vacuum, air, nitrogen). The coating deposition processes will be optimised and validated using samples representative of ball bearinggeometry. The tribological performance of the new lubricant will be assessed at ball bearing level. A life testing campaign will beconducted (including the effect of use in ambient conditions).

Directorate: Directorate Telecom Integrated Applica
Estabilishment: ESTEC
ECOS Required: No
Classified: No
Price Range: 200-500 KEURO
Contracts Officer: Adriana Lucas
Initiating Service: TIA-TT
IP Measure: N/A
Prog. Reference: E/0534-01G – CC-AT 4.0.1
Tender Type: Open Competition
Technology Keywords: 15-G-I-Engineering Disciplines
Products Keywords: 2-D-1.1.1-a-Lubricant (dry, fluid), etc

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