The European Space Agency’s (ESA) Euclid space telescope is about to be launched after major contractor Thales Alenia Space signed a service module and fee. Euclid wanted to study the “dark world” through light-sensing and near-infrared astronomy. The mission will begin before the first quarter of 2023, but is expected to be delayed due to a change in the launch vehicle.
Euclid is the latest missionary in the European Space Agency’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. This project integrates ESA’s global science missions and is the successor to the Horizon 2000 and Horizon 2000 Plus projects that first saw the development and launch of the Planck, Herschel, Gaia, Lisa Pathfinder, and BepiColombo.
Cosmic Vision was founded in 2005 with ESA looking to develop its next branch of aerospace science missions. Two missions under this project have already been launched: the Characterizing Exoplanet Satellite (CHEOPS) in 2019 and the Solar Orbiter in 2020. Several new missions have been planned, including the Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE), Solar Wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE). )), and the Comet Interceptor.
Euclid is the second Medium-Class (M-Class) under the Cosmic Vision program, after Solar Orbiter. The mission is based on the first two concepts, the Dark Universe Explorer (DUNE) and the Spectroscopic All-Sky Cosmic Explorer (SPACE), which were launched in response to the new Cosmic Vision project. The two missions were designed to use the same technology to teach dark energy.
Because of their similarity, the two missions were combined to form the Euclid project, named after the Greek mathematician Euclid of Alexandria. Euclid, who lived around 300 BC, is believed to have been the founder of geometry. The Euclid plane will help scientists better understand the geometry of our universe.
In 2011, the Euclid mission was selected by ESA’s Science Program Committee (SPC), along with the Solar Orbiter mission. At the time, Euclid was expected to start in June 2012.
While the Euclid mission is led by ESA, the program is in collaboration with scientific scholarships from organizations in other countries. These include NASA, which joined the program in January 2013. NASA donates a near infrared device and 40 scientists to the Euclid Consortium – a group of engineers and scientists founded plan the mission and review the data to make the aircraft an impact. return.
The Euclid aircraft is built in two modules: a pay module and a service module. Thales Alenia Space, the mission’s main contractor, began building the service module in July 2013. The pay module was agreed to at Astrium, now Airbus Defense and Space.
The service module incorporates critical equipment – including propulsion, electricity, thermal control, and communication systems – that will be used to support the payload module on its mission. It has a sunscreen that is used to help keep the heat and keep the aircraft’s instruments out of direct sunlight. This shield was also placed on the same day line to power Euclid.
The service module includes the Attitude and Orbital Control System (AOCS), which controls the aircraft’s positioning and performs the two small adjustments required for efficient direction and high -speed kill movements. Response wheels will be used to power the aircraft, while twelve micro-newton cold-gas thrusters will be used for precise power, as measured by the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) on the charge module.
The aircraft also carries hydrazine thrusters that can be used for orbital rotation and correction even if it is not scientifically proven.
Sitting on top of the service module, the payload module will include a telescope and two instruments. Euclid showed a Korsch telescope using three curved and three flat mirrors. The Korsch telescope is wide -eyed, while always providing a better picture. Euclid’s diameter is 1.2 meters.
The light collected by the telescope is directed to the instruments through a dichroic filter, which separates the light into near -infrared light waves.
Euclid’s two instruments are the Visible Instrument (VIS), provided by ESA, and NASA’s Near-Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NSIP). VIS will be used to take precise measurements of the characteristics of galaxies, while NISP will take spectroscopic measurements, separating light from a galaxy at individual wavelengths.
The supply of glasses and sensors for Euclid’s payroll module will begin in 2017 and 2018. In December 2018, the critical investment review (CDR) was completed, giving the green light. for the final group stage of the project to begin. July 2019 saw the NISP device run out, then handed over to Airbus. VIS was released a year later, with the two components added into the payload module in December 2020.
In 2021, the pay module will be tested in an open space, modeling an air -like design that will give engineers and scientists an insight into how Euclid’s instruments work. in the air. With this in mind, the pay module was provided at the end of 2021 from France to Turin, Italy, in preparation for her wedding with the service module, which was built and tested to its fullest potential.
On March 24, 2022, the two modules were merged. Teams from ESA, Airbus, and Thales will monitor the integration, with the 800-kilogram module mounted on top of the service module’s eight connectors, with an accuracy of 50 microns (0.05 mm). to finish the work.
Speaking after the merger, Hans Rozemeijer, an engineer responsible for the assembly, assembly, and testing of the Euclid aircraft, said: “It is very exciting. seeing the plane meet and getting closer to a step to see the missionary become a reality… I’m almost like we’ve joined two families. “
“We need to make sure that the width of the service module is directly related to the width of the payment module in the adjacent areas to reduce the load on the phone as much as possible. […] We estimate a difference of less than 50 microns at each point. It’s not like a piece of Ikea equipment you can hammer into – this process needs to be very precise!
“After assembling the modules mechanically, we connected the connector brackets and attached the electrical connectors. Then we checked that everything worked correctly. Finally, we covered the connector brackets and small spaces remaining between the two modules with thermal insulation securely secure the aircraft.
With the payload and service modules integrated, Thales will complete the construction by installing a solar panel and a high -end antenna on the aircraft. The Euclid will be tested again as a complete aircraft before being taken to the starting line. The final aircraft will measure 4.7 meters in height and 3.7 meters in width. Fully loaded, it weighed 2,160 kilograms.
Euclid was set to launch in the first quarter of 2023 on a Soyuz-STB rocket from Kourou, French Guiana. With Arianespace canceling its partnership with the Russian Federal Space Agency due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Soyuz was no longer available as a launcher, and ESA was forced to search for something else.
Although no official announcement has been made, the Euclid mission is expected to be moved to the new Arianespace Ariane 6 rocket, which is preparing for its first mission later this year. Euclid will probably use the Ariane 62 configuration.
Euclid will be launched at the L2 Sun-Earth Lagrange Point, where it will join ESA’s Gaia and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescopes. It takes about 30 days to make the 1.5 million-kilometer journey to L2.
Once in L2 and fully completed, Euclid was scheduled to serve a missionary life for six years.
Euclid’s first scientific goal was to understand why the universe is growing so fast and to try to figure out what is called dark energy. The dark energy is what makes the Universe grow and the dark matter controls the growth of the cosmic structures. While both are important in the Universe, scientists do not understand the nature of black matter and black energy.
Euclid would make a map of the earth covering more than a third of the sky, with time as a third. It will look at galaxies up to 10 billion light -years away, measuring reds up to 2. The red change is a rising wave of light coming from a moving object. measuring from the observer. By studying the distance, redness, and nature of these mirrors, Euclid set out to find images of the black energy left over from the universe.
Euclid’s extensive and deep research enabled scientists to locate new galaxies and accurately determine the characteristics of the galaxies the missionary had seen. This can be used to improve the observation by using other telescopes such as James Webb to provide an in -depth view of places of interest.
The Euclid Wide Survey will cover 15,000 square degrees of the darkest parts of the sky. This broad research is the purpose of the mission, looking for the distortion signals produced by dark energy. Three Euclid Deep Field studies cover 40 square degrees and help calibrate the field research data, while also helping to increase the range of the mission. Deep field research can find high-reddish blacks.
The tours will be conducted in a go-to-view. The two instruments have time in each area before moving on to the other. Euclid will cover an area of 10-20 degrees each day, allowing him to cover areas of 400 square degrees each month. Every six months, the telescope was turned in the opposite direction so that it could look the other way.
The Euclid mission will help scientists answer important questions about the nature and character of the universe. While it’s not clear at this time when the plane will launch, the reunion milestones show a significant role in its journey into the air.
(Image: The nearly destroyed Euclid spacecraft sits in the bathroom. Courtesy: European Space Agency)