This garage houses the autonomous landing and navigation module from the company PTS, also known as ALINA. This is a lunar module for transporting up to 100 kg of payload. However, the module itself cannot be launched directly from Earth, but requires a launch vehicle for its journey to Earth orbit. The concept is designed to support all common rocket models, such as Falcon 9. Once in Earth orbit, ALINA can cover the 380,000 km to the moon itself and land on the moon.
In the field of space travel, special attention is paid to lightweight construction. ALINA also follows a lightweight construction concept. For example, a special composite material is used for the outer components, which, among other things, serve to protect the internal technology and payload. The material is KEVESOL®a honeycomb sandwich material made of aluminium. Honeycomb describes the structure and composition of the filling material between the outer aluminium sheets as hexagonal honeycombs. A particularly low weight per unit area of approx. four kilograms per square metre, with 0.5 mm thick cover layers, is just one of the advantages that KEVESOL® brings with it.
Comparatively very good mechanical properties and especially the outstanding peel strength add to the advantages. These properties are the result of the sandwich structure's design and operating principle. When a force is applied, the forces are transmitted via the cover layers into the inner structure and distributed over the surface. The inner structures often have good energy absorbing properties and at the same time increase the area moment of inertia due to the structure height, which explains the high bending stiffness of the sandwich structure. With the help of this material, it should be possible to reduce the weight and costs of ALINA. Possible transport goods for ALINA could be, for example, lunar rovers or other scientific equipment.
The Lightweighting Effect
It is not only the space industry that recognises the advantages of lightweight sandwich structures. They are also increasingly being considered in the rail vehicle and automotive industries. Among other sandwich structures, KEVESOL® stands out especially due to its high peel strength, which is widely known to be a weak point of sandwich structures. Due to the variable formability and the possibility of integrating various inserts into the KEVESOL® panels, they show a particularly high potential for future applications.
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