Dialling Down The Heat On ESA’s Billion-Star Surveyor


ESA’s Gaia mission to survey a billion stars has passed a gruelling test to prove it can withstand the extreme temperatures it will experience in space when it is launched next year.

After arrival at its working position some 1.5 million km from Earth, Gaia will operate at a temperature of –110°C, shielded from the heat of the Sun by a giant shade attached to the spacecraft to keep its instruments in permanent shadow.

The focus of the most recent test was Gaia’s service module, which houses electronic units to run the science instruments, as well as the units that provide the spacecraft resources, such as thermal control, propulsion, communication, and attitude and orbit control.

Full Story: http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMR69AYT6H_index_0.html

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