Qualification model of the deployable sunshield
On 29 June 2009 the qualification model (QM) of Gaia's deployable sunshield arrived at the ESTEC test facilities for thermal tests inside the Large Space Simulator (LSS).
Before the tests inside the LSS, a deployment test of the QM sunshield was performed in the cleanroom. This view shows the QM sunshield during the deployment test. To simulate weightlessness, each of the three structural frames of the QM sunshield is attached to an overhead pulley and a counterweight, supported by three masts standing next to the sunshield (just outside the picture).
The gold-coloured blanket of multi-layer insulation (MLI) is the Sun-side blanket of the sunshield. It is made up of fixed sections attached on the three rectangular frames, and two foldable sections between the frames.