Micro DC motors – now on a distant comet!

European Space Agency probe Rosetta navigates to the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko Comet with maxon DC motors onboard.

What is essentially a small laboratory, has remarkably been deployed onto a distant comet. This amazing feat is assisted by two small DC servomotors manufactured by maxon motor. The lander’s name is Philae and it contains ten scientific instruments which could help find clues to the origins of all life. This is the first time in history that information will be gathered from the surface of a comet and it has been achieved by landing a 100kg set of instruments, on a 4km long rock, after ten years travel in space! The Swiss company maxon motor provided two 13mm diameter DC motors for the mission and they will be used to lower an alpha x-ray spectrometer to the ground. The spectrometer will then be used to analyze the comets elemental composition. The task for the small DC motors sounds fundamentally easy, however we need to bear in mind that apart from withstanding the rigors of takeoff and landing the motors have had to survive for over ten years in vacuum conditions. This is also a first, micro DC motors have not been exposed to vacuum for this period of time ever before. Despite this the two motors have come to life and passed their first motion test.

To view the presss release on the maxon Australia website please click here

To view live updates of the Rosetta Mission Comet Landing from the European Space Agency website please click here:



The Philae lander


Comet 67P compared with Paris


About maxon motor Australia

maxon motor is the world’s leading supplier of high-precision drive systems. More than 40 years’ experience, constant innovation, top-quality products and competent customer service make maxon motor a reliable partner in the drive technology sector. We are driven by your specific requirements. The product range incorporated in the modular system is comprehensive: Brushed and Brushless DC motors with the unique ironless maxon winding Flat motors with iron cores Planetary gears, spur gears and special gears Sensors (encoders, DC tachos, resolvers) Servo amplifiers, position controllers and control electronics High-tech CIM and MIM components Customer specific drive solutions. maxon motor is a Swiss company headquartered in Sachseln (Central Switzerland) that employs more than 2000 staff worldwide. With 14 sales companies based in over 30 countries, sales partners in another 10 countries and with six production sites, maxon motor are able to provide locally-based and competent customer service. maxon motor helps provide innovative solutions at competitive prices for numerous applications in various markets, such as Medical technology, Industrial automation and robotics, Aerospace industry, Automotive industry, Communication, Consumer applications, Inspection and Instrumentation and Safety engineering. maxon motor Australia is based in Mt Kuring-Gai NSW and our staff will be happy to help you with all your DC motor and technical enquiries. www.maxonmotor.com.au

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