Focus on AVS, the company in charge of the X-IFU Dewar

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Find out more about AVS, Added Value Solutions, the company responsible for the development of the Dewar subsystem of the X-IFU instrument.


AVS, Added Value Solutions, is a global SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) established in 2006. Today AVS is one of the world’s leading companies specialized in the design and development of critical systems for Big Science in the fields of fusion, particle accelerators and space science and exploration, working on harsh environments such as cryogenic temperatures, neutron and gamma radiation, ultra-high vacuum and high magnetic fields.

AVS expertise and heritage

AVS has achieved notable successes in space, including securing contracts with renowned organizations such as ESA, NASA, and ISRO, while also forming strategic partnerships with major European primes such as Airbus, Thales, and OHB. These collaborations with esteemed organizations and missions demonstrate AVS’s growing presence as an advanced systems provider for Science, Moon, Mars, Earth Observation, Telecommunications and in-orbit servicing missions.

AVS Space relies on highly qualified personnel, working in state-of-the-art engineering, analysis and design facilities under the ISO 9001 and EN 9100 certifications. The company benefit from the advantage of the on-site manufacturing workshops, assembly, integration and cleaning labs, clean rooms, thermal and fluidic testing facilities, bake-out chambers, dust vacuum chambers, propulsion testing labs, etc. across the main 6 sites of the group (3 in Spain, 2 in the UK and 1 in the US).

The relevant background of AVS for Athena includes several successful activities like the development of cryogenics feedthroughs (an ESA funded activity), scientific cryostats for ESA, CERN, IAC and INTA laboratories, cryogenic mechanisms for the Miradas instrument (University of Florida), large vacuum chambers for RAL UK, CLPU or ELI and X-rays instruments like SAXS. The company has also been involved in previous technology developments for the Athena mission like the 12 Launch Locking Struts supporting the Instrument Selection Mechanism (ISM), as part of the Airbus proposal.

AVS contribution to the Athena X-IFU project

AVS will be responsible for the development of the Dewar subsystem of the X-IFU instrument, including:

  • the 50K Dewar, a mechanical and thermal assembly accommodated in the PCL 50K area;
  • the Dewar Control Electronics (DCE), an electronic unit accommodated in the warm PLC basement;
  • the Dewar Cold Harness (DCH). It consists in the electrical links to conduct all the signals between the 50K Dewar and the DCE.

AVS will develop the full engineering process up to the commissioning, including calculations, detailed design, drafting, procurement, manufacturing, assembly, integration and test. These activities will be funded by CDTI and the Spanish Space Agency as a PRODEX program. With a launch planned for ~2037, AVS said that: ‘the development of the XIFU Dewar will be a long-term project that will require our efforts for the years to come. We are looking forward to becoming fully incorporated into the XIFU development team and are eager to start this exciting activity.’

AVS Company with J. Miguel MAS-HESSE
Instrument Co-Investigator – CAB (CSIC-INTA)

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