On March 7, 2008 the Aeronautical Research and Test Institute concluded a contract with EADS Astrium to manufacture one test piece and three flight pieces of micro accelerometers for the ESA scientific mission SWARM. It is the first big contract of a Czech firm to supply an apparatus for ESA satellites. The contract complexity is witnessed by the fact that besides VZLU there are another 14 Czech companies involved.
These measurements are revolutionary since they will be taken simultaneously from space over several regions on Earth. So far, the time oscillations of geomagnetic field were derived from terrestrial measurements. SWARM-based measurements will enrich scientific knowledge in earth climate, ocean currents, the planet´s geological interior (dynamics of earth core), etc. The SWARM project is funded by ESA.
VZLU was engaged in space activities in the seventies to participate for the first time in the Interkosmos programme as a co-designer of the TS1/2 instrument designed to record ionospheric data and low frequency electromagnetic waves in the magnetosphere. At the end of the eighties VZLU tested ASPG-M stabilized platform on which instruments for geophysical and astrophysical research were mounted. The ASPG-M stabilized platform designed at VPZ-VU Běchovice research establishment was used in projects Vega 1, Vega 2 and Kvant-2 for the Soviet international space station Mir. In the same time period VZLU ran vibration tests on the Incubator-2 container designed to look at the effects of space flights on the development of organisms within the Sojuz TM-9 programme.
Further new projects came to VZLU only after a ten-year break. In 2003 mechanical tests on Mimosa satellite, developed by astronomical department of the Czech Academy of Sciences, were carried out. Today VZLU´s major space capacity is focused on the SWARM project. The ending project TEASER also falls into this field, its main business being testing the microaccelerometer on the Russian satellite Universat.
Ing. Martin Holl, PhD.
head of CLKV
tel: 225 115 496