Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Herschel's heart and brain mated

20.09.2007
Herschel, Europe’s infrared space observatory is being presented to the media today in a joint press event by ESA and Astrium in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Two of the satellite’s most fundamental modules, its ‘heart’ and ‘brain’, have now been mated.

The far-infrared space observatory is ESA’s latest mission that will study the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies. Herschel will carry the largest telescope ever flown in space, giving astronomers their best view yet of the cold and most distant objects in the universe. It will collect very long infrared wavelengths, peeking into star-forming regions, galactic centres and planetary systems.

To protect the sensitive instruments from heat generated during operations and to achieve its challenging objectives, the satellite must operate at very low temperatures. This is why the spacecraft’s brain – or its payload module – hosts a cryostat, a cryogenic module inside which the cold components of the scientific instruments are mounted.

Inside the cryostat the sensitive instrument detectors are cooled down to about -273 ºC (0.3 degrees above absolute zero). This low temperature is achieved using superfluid helium (at about -271 ºC) and an additional cooling stage inside the focal plane units.

The service module is the spacecraft’s heart, which keeps the spacecraft going by caring for all its vital functions. It also carries the ‘warm’ components of the instruments – those that do not require cooling with the cryostat.

Between late July and early August this year, the cold and warm units of the instruments were mated with the cryostat and the service module respectively.

Last week, on 11 September, the cryostat containing the cold instrument units was finally mounted on the service module, mating Herschel’s heart and brain.

This fundamental step will be followed by functional and compatibility tests at Astrium before the spacecraft is sent to ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in November for final environmental (thermal, mechanical, acoustic) and functional acceptance tests.

In late December 2007 or early 2008, after the functional tests, the telescope and the solar arrays – two other fundamental parts of the payload module - will be mated to the rest of the spacecraft, completing Herschel.

Herschel is scheduled to launch from Europe’s spaceport at Kourou in French Guiana on 31 July 2008, on an Ariane 5 ECA launch vehicle. The launch will be shared with Planck, ESA’s mission that will study relic radiation from the Big Bang.

Thomas Passvogel | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEM0ZJJPK6F_index_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy
24.03.2017 | University of Massachusetts at Amherst

nachricht Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core
24.03.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>