Rejlers to supply equipment to the European Space Agency ESA for the first time ever

Mar 30, 2021 | Blog

Rejlers will be supplying equipment to the European Space Agency for the first time in its history. This is not Rejlers’s first dance with space tech, however, as the company could be dubbed an old hand at space technology. The first space tech design work was already carried out in the early 2010s connected to production and testing devices. This most recent space technology project is of the same calibre.

Clean container

“The project centres around a ground support device serving as a launch test device for the LP-PWI instrument (Langmuir Probe plasma wave instrument) of the JUICE space probe. ESA wants to ensure that the probe is functioning properly before it is launched into space. The instrument is launched safely on earth, supported by this device,” says Technical ManagerWille Sirén from the industry branch of Rejlers Finland.

Sirén has been involved in the ESA project from the start in 2018.

“The project began much like any other project with the customer providing the mandatory specifications of each device. From there, the customer’s main concerns were heard and considered throughout the process. This initial data was used to start preliminary planning, which then ultimately led to implementation. All we have left to do now is to clean everything up,” Sirén says.

Putting the competence of staff and project management to the test

The space industry is a multidisciplinary branch of industry in itself, requiring competence in many different areas.

“The special skills required at any given time depend on each specific project. ESA, for example, will scrutinise the staff of any company offering their services and assess whether the staff and project management personnel have what it takes to carry out the project in question,” Sirén says.

“Some space technology projects may be purely research-based, but a great many space technology activities fall in the category of basic industry, your run of the mill technology in other words, which Rejlers deals with in its units on a daily basis,” Sirén says.

The processes, design work and documentation carried out for space agencies are strictly regulated and scrutinised, which is something that ordinary industrial projects are not.

“ESA adheres to processes very strictly. It is extremely important to plan, implement and test things in the right sequence and document all these phases,” says Project Lead Henrik Lähdes from the industry branch of Rejlers Finland.

Lähdes has been involved in the project since 2019, serving as a designer and product assurance manager before moving on to the role of project lead four months ago.

“As project lead, I am responsible for making sure that our quality meets customer expectations,” Lähdes says.

“Rejlers has supplied approximately 140 official documents to ESA. All in all Rejlers has supplied ESA with nearly 10,000 pages explaining how the Rejlers device was designed, which materials were used, how the requirements were met and how the device was tested and found to operate in accordance with the design,” Lähdes says.

Rejlers implemented the entire project on its own, enlisting the help of up to more than 10 engineers. The commission included the conceptualisation, design, manufacture and implementation of the ground support device in accordance with customer specifications.

“Naturally we have worked in close cooperation with other ESA subcontractors, because our devices are part of a larger entity, but this piece of equipment was produced independently by Rejlers,” Sirén says.

Not your average cargo

Before the Rejlers ground support device could be sent off, both the device and the containers had to be cleaned meticulously. All in all, cleaning the device and the containers took approximately two weeks and 150 working hours. In addition to this, loading and unloading was practised several times.

“Perfecting the loading and unloading phases of the equipment was part of the testing related to the process. They were practised to establish that the plan corresponds with reality and that both the unloading and loading will be performed precisely when ESA receives the device from Rejlers,” Lähdes says and stresses: “We want to eliminate any murky areas and safety risks to avoid wasting time at the customer end.”

The device is transported in a sealed container with temperature and humidity sensors that monitor the changes in humidity and temperature on the journey to the device’s destination, France.  The sealed container will protect the device from moisture to prevent corrosion.

“Cleanliness was verified by conducting a swab test using a white cloth. The specification stated that the cloth must not have any marks or dirt after the swab test. Cleanliness is extremely important, because the Rejlers device will be used in connection with the ESA probe. The Rejlers device and the ESA probe will be tested in a sealed clean room. Bacteria, viruses, mould, rust, oil, grease and other dirt must be eliminated to prevent the Rejlers device from contaminating the probe,” Lähdes says.

High-level expertise on a personal level

The space industry is a growing branch and has been for a number of years. Rejlers believes that it will be heavily involved with the space branch in the future, as well.

“Space industry projects currently focus on software and small electronics, and having high-level expertise in these areas provides access to more projects like this. Generally speaking, these projects require an excellent command of product development principles on a personal level. Product development and prototype manufacture also require strong process skills and the ability to justify decisions. These are challenging matters that must be mastered if you want to come out unscathed,” Sirén points out.

Many operators see new opportunities for growth popping up in the space industry, and Sirén is no exception.

“I think that the space industry is a growing market and it is important to be involved. I am happy to have Rejlers participate in the Space Economy programme organised by Business Finland, which aims at highlighting Finnish know-how internationally,” Sirén says with a smile.

The Team

Pictured from the left: Juha Haikka, Wille Sirén, Oskari Willman and Henrik Lähdes

Rejlers implemented the entire project on its own, enlisting the help of up to more than 10 engineers. The commission included the conceptualisation, design, manufacture and implementation of the ground support device in accordance with customer specifications.

The author, Marjut Starck, works as Marketing and Communications Manager at Rejlers Finland Oy. You can read the original blog from this link.


More Info:
Jari Niskanen, Business Line Director | Machine
+358 44 292 9872,

Wille Sirén

Wille Sirén

Mechanical Engineer


+358 40 801 1866

Henrik Lähdes

Henrik Lähdes

Design Engineer


+358 40 801 1632