Industrial Technology - Linked-in Industrial Technology - Twitter Industrial Technology - News Feed
Latest Issue
Diary and Events

Southern Manufacturing

Farnborough, Hants(GU14 6TQ)

20/04/2021 - 22/04/2021

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

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)

Reali-Slim bearings chosen to help minimise telescope size and weight

Reali-Slim bearings chosen to help minimise telescope size and weight The Esrange Space Centre in Sweden is where PoGOLite - the Polarized, Gamma-ray Observer - will be re-launched later this year.  Its mission will be to study high energy light (x-rays) emitted by heavenly bodies such as neutron stars, pulsars and black hole systems. And for this purpose the telescope will be lifted into space by a helium filled balloon so that it can travel on stratospheric winds across Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Russia, returning to Sweden 20 days later.

Keeping the payload to a minimum without compromising performance has been a key issue in the design of the PoGOLite altitude control system (ACS). The Swedish company DST was responsible for this element and it naturally sought components whose design would contribute to weight and space savings.   

These design criteria are key selling points for Kaydon thin section bearings, making them a standard choice in the aerospace sector.  As well as supplying these products in the UK and Ireland, the UK engineering component specialist R. A. Rodriguez is also responsible for the Scandinavian market.  It was therefore the company DST contacted to source these proven, lightweight and high performance bearings for this project.

The weight of the overall payload is critical because PoGOLite needs to be able to reach the greatest possible altitude.  This is because x-rays are absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere so, by increasing the ascent potential of PoGOLite, more accurate findings can be assured.  It is ultimately hoped that the study will show a clear polarisation of x-rays, revealing a new observational window through which scientists can study the universe.

Although the altitude control system is just one part of the vessel payload it needed to be as compact and lightweight as possible.  As a result DST specified 50 and 70 mm Kaydon angular contact bearings to allow for accurate control of the elevation angle of the telescope. The elevation bearings therefore carry the full mass (700 kg) of the telescope and are able to survive the 10 g shock resulting from the launch of the parachute during landing. Furthermore DST specified 90 and 180 mm Kaydon angular contact bearings for the critical azimuthal motion of the gondola. Hence these azimuthal bearings carry the entire mass of the gondola (2000 kg) and are able to survive the 10 g shock during landing. The main reasons for choosing these particular bearings are the high requirements on small mass and size, low friction for accurate positioning and high axial capacity.

The key benefits of the Kaydon angular contact bearing chosen by DST are its ability to support radial and uni-directional thrust loads but there is a Kaydon bearing to suit every load requirement and indeed for special applications too.  Choices include bearings that are resistant to corrosion, high temperatures and chemicals as well as those for nuclear and clean room applications.

The maiden test flight of PoGOLite in July 2011 proved to be a great success in terms of telescope performance.  However the vessel failed to reach the required 42km altitude, not through any fault in ACS design or too great a payload, but simply because the balloon had developed a helium leak.  The re-launch is now scheduled for mid-summer 2012.

Other News from RA Rodriguez

Bearings from Rodriguez prove first choice at atlas converting

Latest news about Bearings and slides

Additional Information
Text styles