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Veléz Sarsfield 201640 Martinez

Buenos Aires

Tel.: +54 (9) 11 5993 8719

Horne Technologies cc

PO Box 536

Betty's Bay, 7141

Tel.: +27 (0)76 563 2084

Building of FAULHABER MINIMOTOR SA, Croglio, Switzerland


Zona Artigianale 8, Madonna del Piano

6980 Croglio

Tel.: +41 (0)91 611 31 00

Building of FAULHABER MICROMO LLC, Wien, Austria


14881 Evergreen Avenue

Clearwater, FL 33762-3008

Tel.: +1 (727) 572 0131

NRC Engineering & Precision Drives Co., Ltd.

17F., No. 890, Jingguo Rd., Luzhu Dist.

Taoyuan City 33858, Taiwan, R.O.C.

Tel.: +886 (0) 3-316-1838

EDEL Teknoloji Sistemleri Sanayi ve Ticaret Ltd.Şti

Folkart TowersAdalet Mah.Manas Blv. No:47B/2809

35530 Bayraklı/İzmir

Tel.: + 90 232 215 08 91

Building of FAULHABER Asia Pacific Pte Ltd., Singapore

FAULHABER Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Blk 67 Ubi Road 1, #06-07 Oxley Bizhub

Singapore 408730

Tel.: +65 6562 8270

Compotech Provider AP

Gustavslundsvägen 145, 4 tr

167 51 Bromma

Tel.: +46 (0) 8 441 58 00


56 (bldg. 32), Shosse Enthusiastov

111123 Moscow

Tel.: +7 495 2214 052

Building of FAULHABER Polska sp. z o.o., Poznan, Poland

FAULHABER Polska sp. z o.o.

Ul. Górki 7

60-204 Poznan

Tel.: +48 61 278 72 53

FAULHABER Malaysia Sdn Bhd

1A-2-01 & 02 · One Precinct · Lengkok Mayang Pasir

11950 Bayan Baru · Penang · Malaysia

Tel.: +60 4 619 2570

Swiss Amiet Co., Ltd.

W-903, SK V1 Center, 11 Dangsan-ro 41-g

Yeongdeungpo-gu,07217, Seoul

Tel.: +82 (0) 2 783 4774

Shinkoh Electronics Co., Ltd.

Tokyo Sales Office, Motor Sales Division8F, REID-C OMORI building, 6-20-8

Minami-oi, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo 140-0013

Tel.: +81 (0) 3 6404 1003

Building of FAULHABER Italia S.r.l., Lomazzo, Italy

FAULHABER Italia S.r.l.

Via Cavour 2

22074 Lomazzo CO

Tel.: +39 0236714708

Inteltek Automation JV

S.No. 100/5, Ambegaon

Pune - 411046

Tel.: +91 (0) 20 39392150

Lewenstein Technologies Ltd.

1 Ha'arava St. Givat Shmuel

5400804 Israel

Tel.: +972 3 9780 800

Electro Mechanical Systems Ltd.

Eros House, Calleva Industrial Park, Aldermaston

Reading, RG7 8LN

Tel.: +44 (0) 118 9817 391

Building of FAULHABER France SAS, Montigny-le-Bretonneux, France


Parc d’activités du Pas du Lac2, Rue Michaël Faraday

78180 Montigny-le-Bretonneux

Tel.: +33 (0) 1 30 80 45 00


Passeig Ferrocarrils Catalans 178

Cornellà de Llobregat 08940 (Barcelona)

Tel.: +34 93 422 70 33


Suokalliontie 9

01740 Vantaa

Tel.: +358 (0) 9 5259 230

Routech s.r.o.

Dr. Milady Horákové 185/66

460 06 Liberec

Tel.: +420 489 202 971

Compower ApS

Marielundvej 29

2730 Herlev

Tel.: +45 (0) 44 92 66 20

Marte Científica e Instrumentação Industrial Ltda

Av Fco Andrade Ribeiro 430

37540-000 Santa Rita do Sapucai, MG

Tel.: +55 (11) 3411 4500

Building of FAULHABER Drive System Technology (Taicang) Co., Ltd.,Taicang, China

FAULHABER Drive System Technology (Taicang) Co., Ltd.

Eastern Block, Incubator Building, No. 6 Beijing Road West

Taicang 215400, Jiangsu Province

Tel.: +86 (0) 512 5337 2626

Building of FAULHABER Benelux B.V., Eindhoven, Netherlands


High Tech Campus 9

5656 AE Eindhoven

Tel.: +31 (0) 40 85155-40

Building of FAULHABER Austria GmbH, Wien, Austria


Modecenterstraße 22/C89

1030 Wien

Tel.: +43 1 7963149-0

ERNTEC Pty. Ltd.

15 Koornang Road

Scoresby, VIC 3179

Tel.: +61 3 9756 4000

Fax: +61 3 9753 4000

Building of Dr. Fritz Faulhaber GmbH & Co. KG, Schönaich, Germany



Faulhaberstraße 1

71101 Schönaich

Tel.: +49 7031 638 0

Fax: +49 7031 638 100

We are sorry

FAULHABER is currently not represented in the selected country.

Please contact us with your request at

Jan-Christopher Mohr

Area Sales Manager

Tel.: +49 (7031) 638 158

Michael Schütte

Area Sales Manager

Tel.: +49 (7031) 638 456

Daniel Brönnimann

Area Sales Manager

Tel.: +41 (0) 79 570 0814

Rolf Leitner

Regional Sales Manager

Tel.: +41 (0) 79 422 3348

Rafael Steinemann

Area Sales Manager

Tel.: +41 (0) 79 932 1645

Drive System for Space Rosetta mission header

As is the case with asteroids, comets (or shooting stars) are considered to be the remnants of the genesis of our solar system. They are formed in the cold outer reaches. In proximity to the sun, the comet nuclei – which are usually just a few kilometres in diameter – are surrounded by a nebulous shroud, the so-called coma; this is what gives them their typical appearance. Comets have always fascinated mankind. In the antiquity, ancient Greeks and Romans thought them to be divine omens; in the Middle Ages, they were considered to be harbingers of fate. Now, European scientists have for the first time landed on a comet to observe and examine it close up and so to gain new insights into the origins of our solar system. An endeavour such as this places high demands on the technology that is employed, though. Consequently, the ballistically-propelled lander makes use of an entire series of compact drives, which must reliably fulfil their functions after the spaceflight of many years. For example, they must operate during the landing and while analyses are being performed on the surface of the comet.

Drive System for Space Rosetta mission motors
The lander's legs are connected with the top part by way of a cardan joint in which three motors are integrated: two for both of the tilting axes and one for adjusting the brake force of the multi-plate clutches.
Drive System for Space Rosetta mission harpoon
Harpoon unit for secure anchoring on the surface of the comet

Philae touched down three times

Because of the low gravity of the celestial body, it is difficult find firm footing on the surface and to also ensure a secure stance during the entire operating period. Thus, under the auspices of the DLR (Deutsches Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt; German Aerospace Center), the Max-Planck-Institut for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE) developed a special anchor system for the probe: immediately after ground contact upon landing, two harpoons were to be shot by a propellant charge into the surface of the comet and lodge into it. Barbs were provided to prevent these anchor fittings from coming loose again. As each harpoon shot out, it would have pulled a cable out from a magazine. This cable would then be wound up on a drum until taut by means of a 1628 series brushless servomotor with a 16/7 planetary gearhead in order to secure the probe to the surface. At least that was the plan – unfortunately the harpoons were not fired, the rewinding mechanism was not used and Philae ended up touching down three times without anchoring to the comet. Nevertheless, the miniature laboratory was still able to begin its analyses as planned.

Drive System for Space Rosetta harpoon drawing
Structure of the harpoon anchor.

Landing gear and sample analysis

During the landing phase, other motors had further important tasks to perform: In order to transform the kinetic energy generated during the landing (approx. 50 J) into electrical energy and finally into heat using a spindle drive, a 3557 series bell-type armature motor was connected directly through an external resistor and operated as a generator. Additional drives from the 1224 series are used in the three-legged landing gear of the lander, e.g. in order to swivel or rotate the upper part of the lander by means of a cardan joint so that the solar panels can be optimally aligned. And, microdrives were also needed for taking the samples: The lander has a drill that feeds core samples into a small oven for pyrolysis. Small 1016 series motors with 10/1 planetary gearhead drive a cam via a worm drive, which feeds to a ceramic breech piece on the respective oven and simultaneously closes the electrical contacts for the oven heating element. The gas is routed through thin tubes in the oven latch to the scientific instruments for analysis. During its first scientific phase which lasted a total of 56 hours, the lander performed all of the planned scientific measurements on the comet surface. Philae successfully transmitted this data to the Lander Control Center and, furthermore, has moved its upper part so that it is better aligned with the sun. ESA and DLR already regard the mission as a complete success. Evaluation of all of the received data will take some time.

Drive System for Space Rosetta mission Philae rewind system drawing
Rewind system with miniature motor and spiral spring as flexible energy storage

Outer space and its demands

The demands that outer space place on these drives are high: every kilo of mass that is shot into space costs energy, i.e. fuel – hence money too. Therefore, small, light solutions are sought. At the same time, however, they must also be able to withstand the enormous vibration and acceleration forces during take-off, as well as the constant very-low temperatures and the many years of vacuum conditions prevailing in outer space.

Because the cost factor also plays a major role in all considerations when selecting components for space projects, the developers wanted to do without costly custom developments if at all possible. Accordingly, they first looked for series products which complied with as many of their specifications as possible. They found what they were looking for in the comprehensive drive systems product range from FAULHABER (refer to text box). Standard drive solutions they offered fulfilled all mechanical requirements. The special conditions in space could then be met by making comparably few modifications that entailed negligible additional costs.

Drive System for Space Rosetta mission landing
Drive System for Space Rosetta mission Philae landing

Tuning for standard drives

For example, a brushless DC servomotor with precision gearheads served as the initial motor for driving the anchor harpoon. Motor and gearhead together measure only 16 mm in diameter and 61 mm in length. Low gear play of less than 1° also allows for much more precise positioning. Thanks to their compact dimensions, the drive solutions could be easily integrated. Their low power requirements were also ideally suited to the application.

As was the case with the other drives used in the lander, their lubrication was also adapted to the conditions in space. Greases or oils are ineffective under these circumstances; they either solidify in the cold of outer space or vaporise in the vacuum. Solid lubricants offer a promising remedy to this. Graphite was rejected, though, because it only lubricates well if gases such as water vapour or nitrogen can be built up between the layers of graphite. These gases are lacking in a vacuum; that which is a solid lubricant on earth then acts more like chalk. Which is why it was decided to use molybdenum disulphide (MoS2) for the space mission, which also has a graphite-like layer structure. With it, the lubrication also functions in a vacuum and in the frigid temperatures of outer space, but also at temperatures of up to several hundred degrees Celsius. This solid lubricant was therefore applied to the surfaces of the special bearings to be lubricated and the standard gear wheels.

Drive System for Space Rosetta mission Philae sequester

The gearhead housing had to also be made suitable for deployment in outer space. Deep temperatures of less than -100 °C and different materials can lead to thermal expansion problems with precision parts due to blockage. For this reason, the standard nickel-plated brass housing of the gearhead was replaced by a steel housing, which is matched to the thermal expansion rates of the steel gears. It was possible to manufacture the steel housing in FAULHABER's standard production facility. This in turn helped assure the precisely-fitting interchangeability. Thanks to the easily-assembled individual gearhead parts, the spaceworthy "reinforced" parts could then be easily put together. The modified standard drives prove their performance in space just as they already have in many other extreme applications, e.g. in the high vacuum of electron microscopes or in chip production.


1016 ... SR

Precious Metal Commutation

Data sheet (PDF) Product details

1224 ... SR

Precious Metal Commutation

Data sheet (PDF) Product details
Planetary Gearheads


Data sheet (PDF) Product details

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