Reference installation at ESA Germany
As Europe's center of excellence for satellite operation, ESOC is home to the engineering teams that control spacecraft in orbit, manage the global tracking station network, and design and build the systems on the ground that support missions in space. Since 1967, more than 70 satellites belonging to ESA and its partners have been successfully controlled from Darmstadt, Germany. Just after lift-off, during the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP), ESOC engineers assume control of a new spacecraft, working around the clock to activate crucial onboard systems and ensure the spacecraft’s health in the extreme environment of space.
When systems are in service 24/7, fire risks need to be managed. Early smoke detection and quick automatic fire suppression with clean gas Nitrogen is a requirement for preventing the mission-critical equipment to go down within the protected cabinets due to fire. Therefore ESA- ESOC has chosen to protect some of their mission-critical cabinets with EXXFIRE750 systems. EXXFIRE systems are designed to be plug & play with easy installation to keep downtime to the minimum. The installer had in this installation the flexibility to install the systems in a vertical position on the doors of the cabinets. The unique feature of the EXXFIRE system is the patented cool gas generator. A cool gas generator operates similar to a small solid-propellant rocket but without the thrust of a rocket, producing Nitrogen at a low pressure. The solid propellant is stored as a chemical block inside the generator. An initiator starts the decomposition of the propellant in order to release the required Nitrogen gas at ambient temperature without any residue. There is no danger of damaging the equipment by the fire suppressant and there are no cleaning costs afterwards. Due to the patented technology, no filtering or cooling is needed, thus giving a high storage efficiency, resulting in a 30% smaller and lighter system. The pure Nitrogen gas has no Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP) or Global Warming Potential (GWP) and there are no dangerous side effects to humans, a real advantage over chemical gasses.