In its role of qualified supplier of the leading companies in the aerospace field, Argos boasts with justifiable pride of being an active part in the making of surface coatings on components of various shapes and sizes for connection and logistics modules belonging to experimental stations Nodes 2 and 3.
These connection modules, the result in an agreement between the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, belong to the International Space Station (ISS), by far the most important and challenging scientific programme of international collaboration ever undertaken.
The use of the ISS station, whose assembly in orbit started in 1998 and was completed in 2010, is planned to continue until 2020 and is considered essential for the next challenge in space exploration.
Italy has also contributed to the construction of the European Columbus laboratory, the Cupola external environment observation module and the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).
Italy also participates in space station operations by supplying astronauts (members of the ESA Astronaut Corps), conducting experiments on board and following the implementation of activities in orbit from the centres on earth.
Node 2 and Node 3 are made in Italy by Thales Alenia Space for NASA and are connected to the ISS by one of the axial ports of the U.S. Lab.
The European Columbus laboratory and the logistical element of the Japanese laboratory (JEM ELM-PS) are attached to the two radial ports. The PMA-2 module, placed on the remaining axial port, allows the visiting Space Shuttle to dock.
Internally, Node 2 houses equipment designed to distribute air, electric power and the other resources needed to make the environment on board the ISS habitable and keep the modules connected to it operational. Node 3, launched in 2010 and attached to one of the radial ports of Node 1, internally houses equipment for the production and purification of water and the generation of oxygen necessary for the sustenance of the astronauts.
Collaboration between Argos and Thales Alenia Space
Argos is proud to have participated in this great undertaking by guaranteeing Thales Alenia the highest quality standards of electroless nickel plating in the treatment of strategic parts inside the Nodes, especially of delicate and complex aluminium supports that are part of the internal structures that guarantee accessibility to the astronauts.
As a result of extensive studies and following several process, organisation and structure audits, Argos proved to be the most reliable due to its expertise and more than thirty years of specific experience in electroless nickel plating. It is the only specialisation on which Argos has concentrated its efforts and resources in order to make electroless nickel plating coating increasingly reliable and efficient.
The Niploy Process of electroless nickel plating has proven to be the best, and the one that meets the strict requirements of the countless reference specifications. The Niploy Process gives aluminium more anti-oxidant and hardness properties, and thus wear resistance and long life, as well as better electrical conductivity properties.
Among the many critical issues that characterise these supplies, the one that stands out due to difficulty in obtaining it is the guarantee of durability and functionality exceeding ten years.
These results are not obtained without absolute sacrifice and dedication, combined with the passion and reliability that have always distinguished Argos.