Rods and bearings in space

Bearing applications can sometimes be out of this world. Take the European space program Ariane. Sarma, a speciality products division of SKF based in France, has been actively involved in this project since its first rocket launch in 1973. Now Ariane rockets have completed more than 100 commercial flights. Ariane 4 is scheduled to fly 10 missions a year until 2002. Ariane 5, a more powerful system, will then take over, progressively replacing the current version.

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Bearing applications can sometimes be out of this world. Take the European space program Ariane. Sarma, a speciality products division of SKF based in France, has been actively involved in this project since its first rocket launch in 1973. Now Ariane rockets have completed more than 100 commercial flights. Ariane 4 is scheduled to fly 10 missions a year until 2002. Ariane 5, a more powerful system, will then take over, progressively replacing the current version.

      Sarma supplies rods, cables, end fittings and bearings destined for these rockets. For example, the company delivers large rods for the fixation of the boosters on Ariane 4. “These rods are extremely big and heavy. Most of the Ariane 4 rockets have 12 of them,” says Gérard Roberge, director of technical development at Sarma. “Even though the lifespan of this product is only a few seconds — the time it takes for the rocket to take off — they are crucial for the rocket launch.”

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