Content - Space
«POLAR» Gamma Ray Burst Polarimeter
Customer: European Space Agency (ESA)
Despite being discovered in 1960 (Vela satellites) Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are still full of mystery and the production mechanism of these very intense explosions in the universe is still unknown. To validate or exclude existing models about their creation, a precise measurement of the polarisation of the GRB is essential.
«POLAR» is a highly sensitive detector using the Compton Scattering Effect to measure the polarisation of incoming photons. With its large Field of View and a detection energy up to 500 keV «POLAR» will measure the polarisation of GRB emissions using low Z material Plastic Scintillators, multimode Photomultipliers and multi-channel ASIC Front-end Electronics.
«POLAR» is scheduled for two to three years operation in space during which a large number of GRBs are expected to be measured.
Construction of the «POLAR» detector, the only non-Chinese experiment onboard the Chinese space laboratory "Tiangong-2" was performed by an international collaboration project with contributions from China, France, Poland and Switzerland. Art of Technology responsibilities included:
- Feasibility Study: investigate design of the existing front end electronics with respect to issues related to space applications in order to identify potential design errors or weaknesses and provide recommendations to increase reliability of manufacturing and overall system.
- High Voltage Power Supply (HVPS): system reverse engineering from breadboard, system re-design, development and manufacture of the High Voltage Power Supply with 26 settable power sources on 3 prints with 300 – 500 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 6 layers).
- Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS): system feasibility study, design, development and manufacture of the Low Voltage Power Supply (LVPS) with 82 switchable power sources on 2 prints with 800 – 1’300 components per board (300mm x 60mm, 8 layers).
- Component procurement and production of the EQM, QMs and FM at the partners choice of manufacturers.
«SEIS-EL» Seismometer Electronics
Customer: Contraves Space AG
The NETLANDERTM mission planned to send a network of four identical landers to the surface of Mars to perform simultaneous measurements in order to study the internal structure of Mars, its sub-surface and its atmosphere.
To fulfil the mission objectives with respect to the interior, subsurface, atmosphere and ionosphere investigation of MARS, each the 4 landers was to carry a payload composed of nine instruments. With a mass of the surface modules limited to 22kg, of which only 5.2kg was allowed for scientific instruments, the ultimate goal was to estimate possible mass / volume reductions (and cost) and to provide a recommendation for the most suitable approach and technology.
The Seismometer Electronics «SEIS-EL» control the legs of the measurement sphere, the internal seismic instruments and a variety of sensors. Art of Technology conducted a Feasibility Study and Technology Evaluation of the main and auxiliary controllers and motor drive electronics, including:
- SEIS-MC and SEIS-AC modules including system analysis
- critical properties review
- evaluation of High Desity Packaging technologies
- identifying IC (ASIC) technology for implementing (digital) circuits
- review miniarturisation potential and component availability
- identify achievable mass volume and power for FM circuits
- analysis of development and qualification costs for FM models
«STIX» Detector Electronics Module
Customer: Almatech Sàrl
Art of Technology, together with prime contractor Almatech Sarl, has been awarded a contract by the European Space Agency (ESA) for the design, development, production and supply of the Detector Electronics Module (DEM) to be used in the «STIX» instrument... a Swiss experiment on board Solar Orbiter, which is scheduled for launch in 2018.
The Solar Orbiter mission will address the central question of helio-physics, i.e. how does the Sun create and control the heliosphere?
Carrying the X-ray telescope «STIX», being developed and built under the direction of the University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland (FHNW), Solar Orbiter will travel to ¼ of the distance between the Earth and the Sun (closer to the Sun than any other spacecraft to date) allowing observations of the Sun with unprecedented sharpness and direct measurement of the solar wind and charged particles close to their point of origin.
Solar Orbiter will turn with the sun, allowing a certain area on the surface to be observed for extended periods of time without interruption, providing new insights into the activities of the sun and its effects on the earth, e.g. better prediction of high-energy energetic particles which can interfere with technical equipment such as radio and satellite communications on Earth. This new orbit will allow us to study the Earth side facing away from the sun and for the first time, the polar regions.
The objective of the «STIX» instrument (Spectrometer Telescope for Imaging X-ray) is to contribute to understanding the mechanisms behind the acceleration of electrons at the Sun and their transport into the interplanetary space.
«STIX» will also play a key role in linking remote-sensing and in-situ observations on Solar Orbiter with imaging spectroscopy of solar thermal and non-thermal X-ray emissions providing quantitative information on the timing, location, intensity and spectra of accelerated electrons as well as of high temperature thermal plasmas, which are mostly associated with flares or micro-flares in the solar corona and chromosphere.