BepiColombo MTM Thermal Balance/Thermal Vacuum Test



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48th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The BepiColombo satellite is Europe's mission to Mercury. The mission consists of a spinning satellite “Mercury Magnetosphaeric Orbiter” (MMO) provided by JAXA and a 3 axis stabilized “Mercury Polar Orbiter” (MPO) provided by ESA. A dedicated “Mercury Transport Module” (MTM) provides the transfer from earth to Mercury by means of solar electric propulsion. The Mission is led by Airbus Friedrichshafen who is has taken over thermal design responsibility from Airbus Stevenage. The test is performed with solar simulation up to 8SC in ESA’s large space simulator (LSS) in November 2017. Thermal balance test phases are conducted to verify mainly the heater layout and heat rejection capability of CPS elements (thrusters, pipes). The general thermal design has been already verified by a STM solar sim test performed in 2013. Thermal vacuum test phases include the functional verification of the ion thruster propulsion. This is achieved by activation of the high voltage on the acceleration grids and a separate release of Xenon. Stringent pressure requirements in the chamber and inside the S/C present a challenge to the execution of those test phases. This paper reports on the test performed. It includes test setup, modelling of the test setup and a quick evaluation of the test results


Juergen Schlike, Airbus Defence and Space, Germany
Bernd Weinert, Airbus Defence and Space, Germany
Sean Tuttle, Sigma Space Systems, USA
ICES203: Thermal Testing
The 48th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA on 08 July 2018 through 12 July 2018.


Thermal Balance, Thermal Vacuum, Solar Simulation, Solar Electric Propulsion, BepiColombo, Mercury, Satellite