ESA is the closest to unraveling the mysteries of the Dark Universe, after the combination of two key parts of the Euclid spacecraft – the cargo module and the support service module.
On March 24, more engineers gathered at Euclid, Thales Alenia Space in Turin, to connect the two main parts of the Euclid spacecraft. This process had to be very precise throughout the day, and after two days of installing the electrical equipment and testing the Euclid instruments were still working.
“It was very exciting to see the plane reunite and get close to a stage to see the missionary go. I’m almost like we’ve reunited the two families,” said Euclid Assembly, Integration and Testing. engineer Hans Rozemeijer.
Provided by Airbus Defense and Space, Euclid’s payload module is an analog camera that captures and records light from distant stars, and two sensors to capture this light – the VISible imager (VIS) and the Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP).
The telescope and instruments will also capture billions of galaxies inaccurately to help astronomers better understand how they evolved and integrated into cosmic structures in the next 10 years. hala. This will give us clues about the nature of enigmatic black matter and black energy, the two main drivers of global expansion.
Euclid instruments will be added to the payload module by the end of 2020. By 2021, the full module will have successfully undergone rigorous testing under standardized space conditions to monitor the performance of the payload. telescope and instruments as intended.
The service module is important. It has computers to control all the instruments and critical parts that Euclid needs to operate, as well as subsystems to control the aircraft’s positioning, to accelerate it in the air, to distribute the aircraft. control, communicate with the Earth, and manage data transmission.
To connect the two modules, the engineers used a crane to lower the 800-kilogram module charge on the service module through six connection points. The team took great care to make sure that these points were properly connected, as poor contact could create stresses that could damage the building or replace the Euclid 1.2 -meter telescope lens. .
“We need to make sure that the spread of the service module is directly related to the spread of the payment module in the adjacent areas to reduce the load on the phone as much as possible,” Hans explains. “We expect a difference of less than 50 microns in each area. It’s not like a piece of Ikea you can hammer in somewhere – this process needs to be very precise!”
To illustrate this, the diameter of a thin human hair is 50 microns – or 0.05 mm -. Before attaching the two modules, the team looked at the smoothness of the contact areas with a laser and used very thin spacers called shims to align the skins where needed.
Hans continues: “After assembling the modules mechanically, we attached the connecting brackets and attached the electrical connectors. Then we checked that everything worked out correctly. Finally, we covered the connector brackets and the small spaces left between the two modules with thermal insulation to securely secure the aircraft.
“The Euclid aircraft has been a real challenge and in recent months everyone involved in its merger has been asked to work hard in meeting the complex projects and tasks. Thank you to me. to the Thales Alenia Space team and our business partners for the amazing work that has been done in collaboration with ESA delegates to achieve this critical milestone, ”said Paolo Musi, Director of Science Programs and TAS.
In April engineers will attach Euclid’s solar panel and panels. The sunscreen protects the pay module from the intense light of the Sun, helping the missionary do the best he or she can.
When the sunscreen is attached, the high -altitude antenna is connected and then Euclid is finished. The final plane will measure about 4.5 meters in height and 3.1 meters in width. After that, Euclid will be tested as a complete and ready -to -launch system from the European Spaceport in French Guiana.
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