Thermal Testing of the Sentinel 5 Precursor TROPOMI earth observation instrument
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The Tropospheric Monitoring Instrument (TROPOMI) is delivered for launch in Q2 2016 on ESAs Sentinel 5 Precursor spacecraft. The TROPOMI instrument has been developed under instrument prime responsibility of AIRBUS Defence and Space Netherlands BV and is jointly funded by ESA and the Kingdom of the Netherlands with NL Programme management by the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). The mission of this instrument is to perform observations on air quality and on sources and sinks of air quality and climate related gases and aerosols. TROPOMI is a passive Solar backscatter imaging spectrometer sensitive in several spectral bands from ultraviolet (UV) to Short Wave Infrared (SWIR), allowing deep penetration into the atmosphere, observing scattered radiation close to the Earth’s surface. The instrument’s spatial resolution of 7 x 7 km2 results in a high fraction of cloud-free observations. The wide swath range allows daily Earth coverage. The four 2D detectors in the instrument (SWIR, NIR, U-VIS, UV) are cooled down to temperature levels varying from 140 K to 210 K to reduce the dark current output. The TROPOMI instrument has been subjected to Thermal Balance and Thermal Vacuum (TBTV) tests during Q4 of 2014 at Centre Spatial de Liege (CSL). A dedicated liquid nitrogen (LN2) shroud enclosure and conductive cooling ground support equipment (GSE) have been designed and built. The performance of the thermal control system (TCS) with respect to the temperature stability requirements has been verified by testing the response of the instrument to time varying thermal boundary conditions and various operational scenarios. The thermal model of the instrument has been correlated according to the test results. The correlated model has been used to generate in flight temperature and heater power predictions. Lessons learnt from the test are discussed and an outlook to the in orbit operations is given.