In‐orbit thermal control system performance results from LISA Pathfinder LEOP and Thermal Commissioning
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The LISA Pathfinder spacecraft is a technology demonstration mission for detecting gravity waves launched in 2015. It is funded by the European Space Agency (ESA) with Airbus Defence and Space as prime contractor. The spacecraft has a challenging thermal design including a tight temperature stability requirement for the sensitive laser interferometer instrument and micro-propulsion payloads during science operations on-station at Earth-Sun Lagrange Point 1 (L1). This has led to extra constraints on the thermal design and operation of the thermal control system where multiple trim heaters have to be operated constantly in various combinations instead of cycling heaters. Also some payloads need to be controlled within a narrow temperature window of 6 °C. This paper reviews the in-orbit thermal control system operation compared to the thermal analysis predictions throughout the varying thermal environments of Launch and Early Phase (LEOP) operations, to transfer to L1 and arrival on-station. This includes comparing the duty cycling of the heaters during the non-science phases and a review of the spacecraft in-orbit temperature trends.