New ESA/GSTP SMA coupling development contract secured

ESA - ESTEC, Noordwijk NL, July1, 2019

After  ARTES5.1 program initiated in 2016 which allowed to develop various concepts of Shape Memory Alloy pipe couplings, a new GSTP contract has been signed today between ESA, ChP Consult SPRL (with Flexmet BVBA as key partner) with a two year duration.

Main objectives of the project are couplings for different pipe diameters and materials.


Currently, the technology development status is such, that for a specific customer demand (specific pipe material/diameter), prototypes can be elaborated in typically two months.

Shape Memory Alloy Couplings for pipes - Standard or customized

In cooperation with the Belgian company Flexmet, the company SCouP srl has been created in order to develop the supporting activity development.

Typical applications:

  • Welds where X-ray tests would be mandatory, and your production rate or maintenance frequency are so low, that you should re-qualify your operator teams for each new weld.

  • Pipes that are so close to each other, that there is no space for a welding head.

  • Quick repair solution at customer site with limited equipment capacity (military operation theaters, satellite in Launch Vehicle integration site, ...).
  • Pipe diameters that are so small, that (i) there are no longer machines that could do this in a controlled and repetitive manner (ii) X-ray inspection is no longer a reliable way to monitor the result.

  • For joining two pipes, made of different alloys or processes.

Currently, this product in available as 1/4'' and 1/2'' pipe OD versions up to 320bar/4640psi MEOP, but rapid customization is possible, thanks to  in-house, very flexible R&D en Production entities equipped with CAD/CAM, very specific FEA tool, CNC equipment for prototyping and serial production, leak test bench with helium mass spectrometer,  1,300bar/19,000psi high pressure facility and vibration test shaker.

Depending upon Quality and Supply-Chain requirements, specific solutions can be provided.

In addition, ChP Consult can propose a complete solution for pipe kits (Development and Serial production):

  • Co-development of piping solution (including bracket constraints relative to couplings, bi-metal coupling, other component...)
  • Design/adaptation of couplings (material, dimensions, fatigue constraints, ...)
  • Manufacturing according to space quality rules
  • Acceptance test of segments (geometry, tightness, proof, electric continuity...)
  • Shipment
  • ...


Based upon 25Y+ aerospace product development/validation/industrialisation/marketing history, ChP Consult proposes key support activities:





Setting up a R&D project

  • Checking baseline assumptions (maturity of technologies, teams, other "criticals").
  • Partner/Subcontractor for R&D, DV, Industrialization projects.
  • Project Feasibility, Costs, Risks and RoI analyses, Financial controlling, 
  • Assessment of R&D projects for Venture Capitalists and public institutions.
  • Support for R&D funding activities (EC/H2020 and ESA proposals, Dossiers for Investors, ...)
  • Setting up project management rules and tools, financial management indicators, risk matrix.

Getting a short-list of innovative (or not) options

Managing "real life"

  • Coaching of R&D teams
  • Technical reviews
  • Crisis Management (when things tend to get tough...). Product debug, Redesign under challenging lead-time ...
  • Risk management
  • Supplier follow-up
  • Tests in own lab or elsewhere

Helping to sell the product

  • Support for technical publications for conferences and promotion documentation.
  • International B2B and Sales Support, Supplier Follow-up (particular ties with Latin-America and Eastern Europe).

Subcontractor or Partner for a whole Work Package

  • Design/Manufacturing/Testing/Reporting

And also

  • Interim Management,
  • Analysis Oriented Excel development/training.
  • Knowledge Management
  • Aerospace Validation / Flight Test Support / Instrumentation,
  • Propulsion system technology for aeronautical-, space-AOCS- and launch vehicles, from 0,05N to 2000kN.
  • Aerospace and Defense context


D, EN, ES, FR, NL, RU  


 ... but ChP Consult also develops in own lab and manufactures own space products .