Deployment test of the QM 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 at the end of this deployment test. Clearly visible at this angle is that the sunshield has two parallel blankets of multi-layer insulation (MLI). The Sun-side MLI blanket is now facing the ground and the shadow-side blanket is facing up.
To simulate weightlessness, the three rectangular frames of the QM sunshield are each attached to an overhead pulley and a counterweight, supported by three masts standing next to the sunshield.