Ensuring quality standards for spacecraft transport of JUICE

Ensuring quality standards for spacecraft transport of JUICE

Prototyping a space probe is a very different challenge than Quality Management on the Airbus A320 for instance. The Airbus A320 is a model that has been built for years. The model is solid and there are no disturbing factors. This was quite different in the JUICE project of ESA and Airbus Defence & Space. It was a prototype construction and nobody knew what to expect.

The Space Craft JUICE

JUICE, Jupiter ICy moons Explorer, was built by Airbus Defence and Space and many other European partners for the European Space Agency (ESA). It was built to explore Jupiter and its icy moons Europe, Callisto and Ganymede. The goal is to find out if there are habitable environments and underground oceans on Jupiter and its moons. JUICE will be the first space probe to explore a moon on another planet.

In spring of 2023, JUICE will embark on its seven-year journey to Jupiter, covering 600 million kilometers in space and using the gravity of Earth, Mars, and Venus. This is a huge project and incredibly exciting for ARTS.

Quality Engineering for the aerospace sector

One of our ARTS quality engineers was responsible for ensuring and maintaining quality standards in the JUICE project. The project was mainly about the proper application of procedures written by specialized engineers, smooth transport, integration and work in the clean room. Our colleague, who was employed by the customer through ARTS as part of a temporary staffing agreement, was also responsible for the product controls, the so-called incoming and outgoing controls.

This customer project exemplifies our aviation recruiting solutions we offer our customers.

Transportation of a space probe

One of the most exciting tasks within the project was the transport of JUICE from one project location to another. The structure of the space probe was developed in France and tested in Munich. Accompanied by our ARTS colleague, it was transported to another location where the parts were integrated.

The value of a space probe increases with each additional part that is integrated into the structure. The probe becomes heavier, more valuable, and therefore nothing must go wrong during the transport. At the end of construction the probe will weigh 4800 kg and needs to be transported with an Antonov to Kourou in French Guiana. There, JUICE will be placed on an Ariane 5 or 6 and will start its journey to Jupiter in spring 2023.

The JUICE probe reveals stunning images of Jupiter's moons.