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Virtual Panel Event about Industrial Connectivity

Virtual event

17/05/2021(16:00-17:00)

This 60-minute virtual panel discussion between industry experts will explore the intersection of connectivity (more)

UKIVA Machine Vision Conference

Virtual

15/07/2021

Join us on 15 July 2021 on the MVC Technology Presentation Hub and explore eight online seminar theatres. (more)

PPMA Show 2021

NEC, Birmingham(B40 1NT)

28/09/2021 - 30/09/2021

PPMA Show 2021 will be the UK’s largest ever event dedicated to state-of-the-art processing and (more)

Southern Manufacturing

Farnborough, Hants(GU14 6TQ)

06/10/2021 - 07/10/2021

Southern Manufacturing and Electronics is the most comprehensive annual industrial exhibition in the (more)

Advanced Engineering 2021

NEC Birmingham(B40 1NT)

03/11/2021 - 04/11/2021

Join us in our 12th and most important edition to date, as we invite engineers and management from all (more)

Encoder technology from Maxon Motor on board Curiosity

Encoder technology from Maxon Motor on board Curiosity The landing of the Mars rover Curiosity took seven exciting minutes. Now it will be looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. maxon encoder technology will play a part in the successful excursion of the rover. This is the continuation of the success story of maxon products in outer space and on far away planets.

The new Mars rover Curiosity ended its six month long journey to Mars with a successful landing on August 6th 2012. As everything went according to plan, the control centre at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL; California) erupted in cheers. "It was a wonderful landing, everything looked extremely good" said Adam Steltzner, NASA engineer and lead scientist of the JPL landing team, enthusiastically at a press conference. This is the start of a new, exciting excursion on the Red Planet.

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. The plan is that the rover shall explore the immense Gale Crater on Mars for signs of life, for two years. And this with impressive equipment on board - a gas chromatograph will hopefully uncover organic compounds; a spectrometer will analyse the composition of rocks which will be collected by the two meter long robot arm and a neutron source will look for hydrogen in the ground.
 
On its "Mission to Mars" Curiosity also has maxon products on board. The MR Encoder technology is built in to 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. Curiosity's little brother Opportunity is still on its journey on Mars; for the past 8 years the rover has been exploring Mars with the help of maxon motors.

A further success for maxon motor is the SpaceX-Mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Amongst other things, brushless EC motors have been used to move the 2 solar panels which always have to be facing the sun in order to supply the Dragon Capsule with power. More flights to the ISS are already planned; the next in September 2012. In 2015 a further rover will be sent explore Mars for the Exomars Mission. The moon is also in sight - at least for the Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) when an exploration rover will be sent to the moon. Numerous research satellites nearer to Earth will also be fitted with maxon drives. The next start of such a satellite its the ESA Sentinel 3 which will fly into space in 2013. Here maxon motors will be used, for example, in a possible emergency to control and secure the fuel valves.
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