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SPACE Heritage - Tailored Stepper Motors for Space Applications

A perfect fit for your project:

With 25 years of space heritage and over 300 motors in space we know how to optimise weight, power consumption, thermal dissipation and stray magnetic flux without sacrificing precision or reliability.

Phytron Space Technology

Phytron Space Stepper Motors

Our technology drives applications in projects of:references_850

Space Project Selection:

BepiColombo - MERTIS (due to launch in 2015)

MErcury Radiometer and Thermal Infrared Spectrometer

for: Polish Academy of Science (PAS), DLR, ESA

MAVEN (2013)

MAVEN is a NASA Mars scout mission carrying eight instruments designed to orbit Mars and explore its upper atmosphere.

  • launch date: Nov. 18, 2013; mission target: mars; orbit insertion date: Sept. 22, 2014; led by principal investigator Bruce Jakosky of LASP


  • grating flip mechanism, 90° deflecting angle moving in hard end stops
  • preloaded positioning
  • cleanliness for optics
  • stepper motor data: size 25, hybrid stepper 200 steps/rev full step mode
  • gear data: integrated planetary gear ratio 50:1, 90 deg travel
  • materials: structural parts titanium, hybrid bearings, wet lubrication
  • customised titanium coupling: compensation of an axial length reduction during deformation without additional stress


Mars rover CURIOSITY - ChemCam (2012)

phytron stepper motor focuses laser and the analysis camera

Phytron's VSS stepper motors enhance Curiosity's vision: phytron's VSS technology focuses the laser light and the analysis camera inside the ChemCam instrument on the sample. The VSS stepper motor series excels in reliability, durability, vacuum compatibility and minimal outgassing rates. The VSS motor is optimised for mechanical friendly smooth running and is capable of precise positioning even without feedback or complex electronics.
Learn more about the ChemCam-Instrument:



JUNO (2011)

Mirror rotation in Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph

motor: VSS 32

for: NASA / ESA


EnMAP mission

A perfect fit for Kayser-Threde and HTS

Shutter calibration mechanism as part
of the scientific payload of the German
EnMAP mission.


  • customised titanium gear shaft for low weight and strength
  • tailored magnet arrangement to minimise stray magnetic flux
  • redundant windings cater for loss of primary coils
  • Harmonic Drive gears for space conditions
  • duplex bearings to better absorb shock and vibration
  • central housing configuration for optimised force transmission (hybrid assembly technology)

EnMAP is built under contract of the German Space Agency DLR with funds of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Technology.

for: HTS, Kayser-Threde


KOMPSAT S/C mission

A perfect fit for EADS Astrium.

High precision positional actuator for the X-Band Downlink Antenna developed for the KOMPSAT S/C.


  • customised titanium main structure for low weight and optimal strength
  • integrated Harmonic Drive gear unit
  • duplex bearings to withstand shock and vibration for lasting performance
  • central housing configuration optimised force transmission through the material (hybrid assembly technology)
  • special lubrication system to prolong lifetime
  • customised leadwire exit to meet project constraints
  • motor model endurance tested in vacuum and N2 atmosphere (bearings,
    lubrication system, gears)



STEREO (2006)

The sun in 3D

motor: VSS 19

for: NASA + The Johns Hopkins University


Rosetta - Cosima (2004)

Cometary Secondary Ion Mass Analyser

motor: stepper motors VSS19

for: Max-Max-Planck-Institut, Extraterrestrische Physik München

XMM-Newton - EPIC (2000)

European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC)

for: Max-Max-Planck-Institut, Extraterrestrische Physik München, ESA

Cassini-Huygens (1997)

Exploring Saturn

for: Max-Planck-Institut, Heidelberg, ESA, NASA


MOS-IRS-P2 (1996)

Indian Remote Sensing Satellite-P2

for: DLR

Phytron Inc. | Tel.: +1-802-872-1600 | Fax: +1-802-872-0311 | E-Mail: info@phytron.com