Qualification of Thermal Hardware for the Europa Clipper Mission



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2024 International Conference on Environmnetal Systems


The Europa Clipper mission and environment present multiple challenges for design and implementation of flight hardware. The biggest environmental driver is ionizing radiation around Jupiter. The expected radiation total ionizing dose on external surfaces is over 1 Grad, and there are related internal electrostatic discharge effects as well. The mission trajectory solar distance varies between 0.82 and 5.6 AU, which can create large temperature variations over the mission lifetime. Some of the science instruments impose contamination control and magnetic cleanliness requirements. Lastly, the demands of this flagship mission require high performance and low risk hardware for mission success. Due to the confluence of these requirements and the demanding needs for many of them, all thermal hardware required appropriate qualification analysis and testing even if successfully flown on a previous mission. Flight heritage hardware often served as a starting point for design and implementation approaches. Those designs were then adapted to suit Europa Clipper. Qualification testing for radiation, internal electrostatic discharge, magnetic emissions, and thermal cycling served as important confirmations of acceptability (or not) of hardware for flight. Other evaluations were sometimes performed for material analysis, contamination control, or parts reliability. This paper will summarize qualification analysis and testing motivation, parameters, results, and lessons learned for various thermal hardware that will fly on Europa Clipper.


Tyler Schmidt, Jet Propulsion Laboratory - California Institute of Technology, USA
Madison Hunter, Jet Propulsion Laboratory - California Institute of Technology, USA
ICES101: Spacecraft and Instrument Thermal Systems
The 53rd International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Louisville, Kentucky, USA, on 21 July 2024 through 25 July 2024.


Europa Clipper, Thermal, Hardware, Film heater, PRT, MLI, Coatings, Louver, HRS, Ionizing radiation, Internal electrostatic discharge, Magnetic emissions, Life testing, Qualification testing