Gaia Sunshield Laboratory Deployment
One of the technical development activities initiated by ESA after the concept and technology study in 2000 was the development of a fully representative deployable solar array for Gaia. The study was carried out by Sener (Spain), and directed by Gerard Migliorero (ESTEC). The specifications called for a 'bread board' model of two of the 12 folding panels of an 11-m diameter sunshield, partly carrying solar panels, and weighing less than 100kg. After deployment, the sunshield must provide a highly stable mechanical and thermal environment during operation. The study demonstrated that the temperature of the shielded spacecraft can be kept at about 150K, with a stability of a few parts in a thousand over the spin period of 6 hours. This movie shows laboratory deployment of the resulting breadboard model.