Satellite Multilayer Insulation (MLI)
Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) blankets play a key role in spacecraft thermal control, thus every mission includes MLI installation whether it is payload or platform, used for instruments or the whole satellite. Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) is thermal insulation composed of multiple layers of thin sheets and is often used on spacecraft and Cryogenics. MLI is one of the main items of the spacecraft thermal design, primarily intended to reduce heat loss by thermal radiation.
What we offer
Admatis is becoming increasingly expertized in the MLI field. Our development and production include
- thermal and mechanical engineering,
- layup and layout design in CAD,
- manufacturing, assembly, test and integration (MAIT).
Our MLI design includes the definition of materials, layups, slits, cuts, electrical grounding points and fixation with standoffs and hook-and-loop fasteners. The complex 3D shape of a blanket is adjusted to the structure/instrument to be covered in CAD software then translated to 2D layout. Layouts can be cut by hand using 2D cutting templates or by a CNC cutting machine. The cutting and assembly process takes place in our ISO 8 Class cleanroom then the blankets are forwarded to bakeout, mechanical and thermal testing. For very complex shapes, 3D mock-ups can be built, and templates can be used for fit-check to ensure integrability. Integration includes gluing technologies using Grounding Support Equipment (GSE) for proper positioning of attachment devices.
Used materials are
- Aluminized polyester (Mylar) foils with or without perforation/embossing for reflectors,
- Aluminized (on one side or two side) Polyimide (Kapton) foils for covers,
- Aluminized black polyimide (Kapton) foils for covers,
- Silica or polyester veils and fibers for spacers,
- Aluminized polyimide / black polyimide PSA tapes with matching thermo-optical properties to covers,
- PEEK / Polyimide (Vespel) / Aluminium standoffs,
- Polyester and NOMEX hook-and-loop fasteners.
MLI development programmes
MLI blanket design, manufacturing and test knowledge are gained during a set of R&D projects funded by ESA between 2017 and 2021. Projects are being performed in close cooperation with the Large Space Integrator Thales Alenia Space France to ensure the best relevancy of developed products and technologies. To complete our MLI product line, several ESA funded development projects run parallel covering design, manufacturing, test and integration technology domains.
Success story: Thermal insulation for a JUICE instrument
One of our internal MLI blanket technologies has been selected by ESA for the JUICE PEP instrument internal MLI. Admatis was responsible for the design and production and two models (STM and FM), which were delivered to the University of Bern, who integrates the blankets on the instrument.
Admatis was selected in 2020 by TAS and ESA to provide spacecraft MLIs for CHIME satellites.
and we will answer you.