How ESTEC turned up temperature for Mercury testing


The Large Space Simulator mirror at the ESTEC Test Centre is used to reflect sunlight from the Solar Simulator during thermal vacuum tests. It is made up of 121 hexagonal segments which had to be individually reoriented to produce a much tighter beam for simulating the 10 solar constants experienced in the vicinity of Sun-scorched Mercury.

Credits: ESA

Japan’s Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter recently withstood 10 times standard solar illumination levels during ESTEC Test Centre testing. Simulating the blistering conditions of Mercury’s neighbourhood posed a huge technical challenge, requiring extensive refit of the Centre’s largest vacuum chamber.

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