During 1986-1999, a small but dedicated research team led by professor Pál Bárczy at Miskolc University had developed a unique instrument to grow single crystals, the Universal Multizone Crystallisator (UMC). The potential of the UMC has been recognised by the NASA and the Russian-led Intercosmos program as well. The UMC have been patented in Hungary and the USA in 1995.
In 2000, 8 members of the research team have founded Admatis to explore opportunities of utilising the UMC, develop further applications of the technology and undertake related R&D projects. 4 of the founding members are still active as owner and manager, meanwhile 2 longstanding colleagues have gained ownership stakes.
The name, ADMATIS, ADvanced MATerials In Space, itself reflects our inherent dedication to space engineering with significant background of material science.
First 10 years
In the first 10 years, Admatis had been using the facilities of the Microgravity Lab of Miskolc University. In 2002, Admatis was awarded its first major contract by NASA, to deliver an upgraded UMC and provide further in-situ technical assistance for 2 years at Marshall Space Flight Centre, Al, USA. In Huntsville (Al), the UMC have performed beyond expectations, it was employed successfully in developing CdHgTe semiconducting single crystals for radiation detection. At that time there were only few suppliers to NASA from Central-Europe.
Besides further developing and utilising the UMC, ADMATIS had briefly ventured into material design to grow a few Ge single crystals for neutron polarisation and more importantly, into metal foaming. This line of research was more rewarding, and we have developed by ESA initiatives a test equipment for space experiments, the UMFA.
Continuing this line of research, as part of the FOCUS project, we have been awarded an opportunity by ESA to perform a foaming experiment on board of the ISS. During 2006-2010, we have designed both the scientific part of the experiment (observing and analysing foam development, structure and stability in microgravity) and the technical implementation (hardware design, manufacturing and testing). This hardware was the very first that operated in space. It was a great pleasure to work together with ESA experts who took care of the success of the project. The late access at ESTEC was on 28th of January 2010, the launch on 3rd February 2010 and on 7th February 2010 our experiment was successfully performed on board of the Columbus module of the ISS by Jeffrey Williams. Having our own manufacture traveling to orbit and successfully completing a space experiment was a remarkable milestone in our short history.
Starting from 2009, Admatis has gradually turned its attention to the dynamically expanding European space industry and started seeking for supplier contracts to major ESA missions. In order to meet the exceptionally high requirements of ESA and ECSS standards for manufacturing, storing, testing and packaging, Admatis has moved from the University of Miskolc to its own premises and set up a new facility in Miskolc where it still operates. After a sequence of expansions, this site became a location where high-tech R&D and engineering can meet the highest industrial standards.
Admatis has earned its first major supplier contract from an ESA prime contractor ASTRIUM (now AIRBUS), Toulouse, France, to design and manufacture several thousands of mechanical and thermal components of the MSI payload of the Sentinel-2 satellite fleet between 2009-2013 and 2015-2018. In the first phase, Admatis was responsible for all the design, manufacturing, verification, product assurance and management activities. At that time there were only limited number of employees with limited knowledge and heritage that made the staff overpressurized. 8 engineers were able to manage more than 50 suppliers, learn the industrial standards in competitive environment. That was never done before in Hungary, and arguably, nor in Eastern Europe. By the end of the story the project was a success, and it generated a strong heritage with high TRLs of processes. Admatis had the opportunity to deliver two more sets of hardware to two more Sentinel-2 satellites (model C & D) two years later. It was a recurrent activity that was successfully finished half year before the final deadline.
Thanks to FOCUS and Sentinel-2 projects, Admatis became one of the most competitive Hungarian entities. This led to much more space projects in the following years.
In a good cooperation with a science team in Konkoly Observatory, Admatis was selected to develop the radiators of CHEOPS satellite. These radiators are sitting on the top of the satellite and due to the special orbit, a special coating had to be developed to meet the very strict science requirements. The radiators had to provide 3-5 mK thermal stability for the CCD and front-end-electronic (FEE) for hours, while the orbital period of the satellite is 100 minutes. The flight hardware was delivered to the University of Bern in 2017, while the launch was in December 2019.
After Hungary have joined the ESA in 2015, an incentive program was initiated in order to develop the Hungarian space industry through companies’ performance improvement. It was a good opportunity to run several developmental projects with the support of ESA. The thermal domain at ADMATIS has been extended by Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) since 2016. Several MLI technologies and processes have been developed up to TRL6 covering the design, manufacturing and verification. Most of these projects were supervised by Thales Alenia Space France that led to a good cooperation with their thermal experts.
ADMATIS turned to Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE) market with project STC. Two years later ADMATIS has TRL5 in the transport container segment. A mechanical jig was manufactured to RUAG in the framework of the MetOp program in 2017.
In 2020, ADMATIS designed and manufactured flight grade Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) blankets and thermal dummies for the JUICE mission of ESA, within an exceptionally short time frame. These projects were supported by ESA and the Hungarian ESA delegation, while the flight hardware MLI was delivered to the University of Bern and the JUICE SWI Thermal Dummies to Airbus Germany.