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 Molecule flash mob
19.01.2017 | Technische Universität Wien

nachricht Magnetic moment of a single antiproton determined with greatest precision ever
19.01.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>