Airbus Defence and Space – Our Customer for Over 30 Years

This year we celebrate our 40th anniversary. It is a good occasion to look back on the company history and the people behind it. Who has accompanied us on our great journey? One of our particularly long-standing customers, with whom we have realized many exciting projects, is Airbus Defence and Space.

In 1987 we delivered one of our first vibration control systems to Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm (MBB) in Kirchheim-Teck, one of the predecessor companies of Airbus Defence and Space. The system was based on an HP 1000 real-time computer (RTE-A operating system) with Hewlett-Packard measurement hardware. A milestone for our company.

Excerpt from the Hewlett-Packard Realtime Update 1994 with Josef Fritz, the then head of the laboratory in Ottobrunn

Test preparation in the late 90s

In 1989 MBB in Ottobrunn near Munich became our pilot customer for the first system of the second m+p VibControl generation, the VCP 9000 based on the HP 3565S Paragon for 48 input channels and an HP 9000 workstation with UNIX operating system. This technology, which was completely new at the time, offered a high potential, but also entailed some start-up difficulties. The trust that MBB placed in us was one of the cornerstones for our subsequent close cooperation. We both benefited: Our customer was provided a vibration control system of the highest quality and stability, and we in turn were able to implement their numerous suggestions from practical experience in our software. One example is the integration of the notching function into the sine and random excitation modes, which was requested by the then head of the Laboratory for Environmental Testing, Josef Fritz. It was further developed in the following years and is still the standard for vibration testing in the aerospace industry worldwide.

manin front of 2 screens
Multi-channel vibration tests on BepiColombo’s solar arrays, Airbus Defence and Space, Ottobrunn/Germany

Today, Airbus Defence and Space operates m+p VibControl vibration control systems with 4 -128 channels at four locations in Germany (Ottobrunn, Friedrichshafen, Bremen and Faßberg/Trauen). These are used for tests on satellites and their subsystems, space propulsion systems, space robotics and probes, among others. For example, the solar arrays of the BepiColombo space probe (a European-Japanese space project), which is on its way to Mercury since 2018, were successfully subjected to comprehensive multi-channel testing with m+p VibControl. In addition, the vibration control systems are used at calibration stations and for controlling cryomats with our m+p TempControl. For the analysis of recorded time data, the test laboratory staff in Bremen use our versatile vibration analyzer, the m+p Analyzer, together with m+p VibPilot measurement hardware.

We regularly calibrate the measurement hardware on site. In this way, Airbus Defence and Space ensures the control accuracy and operational readiness of the measurement technology.

motor on shaker
Shaker testing of a 400 N apogee boost motor (manufacturer: ArianeGroup, Germany) with m+p international’s measurement hardware behind the specimen/shaker, Airbus Defence and Space, Ottobrunn/Germany

Internationally, vibration tests with our systems are carried out at Airbus locations in Great Britain and Spain. Tesat-Spacecom in Backnang and ArianeGroup in Lampoldshausen, which belong to the Airbus Group, also test their high-tech products with m+p VibControl vibration control systems.

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Andreas Littek, Senior Advisor Environmental Lab at Airbus Defence and Space, Ottobrunn/Germany

Andreas Littek, Senior Advisor Environmental Lab in Ottobrunn: "We have been working with m+p international very successfully for decades and it is a pleasure to do so. For our vibration tests we currently use two vibration control systems from m+p international, each with 128 channels. The calibration station is new. The reliability and stability of the m+p systems are exceptionally high which is of the utmost importance for our test requirements. We also appreciate the uncomplicated and fast technical support we receive time and again."

Many thanks to Airbus Defence and Space for the trustful cooperation since the 80s!

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