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One element of the Gaia torus

One element of the Gaia torus

Date: 22 July 2009
Satellite: Gaia
Depicts: One segment of the torus (prior to brazing)
Location: BOOSTEC premises at Bazet near Tarbes, France
Copyright: ESA

One of 17 individual elements that make up the Gaia torus.

Starting on 28 April 2009 the 17 custom-built elements were assembled and aligned into the form of the torus. In preparation for brazing a special braze paste is then applied at each of the torus segments interfaces. When heated above 1000 °C this paste melts and seals the joints by capillary action - the torus then becomes one complete unit.

All elements of the torus are constructed from Silicon Carbide (SiC), a ceramic material whose physical characteristics make it the material of choice for structures which must be both light-weight and robust. The low thermal expansion coefficient and high thermal conductivity of SiC mean that it is a very stable material which can quickly dissipate thermal gradients, and with a Young's Modulus of about 420 GPa it is twice as stiff as steel. These are essential properties for the key hardware components of a mission whose scientific goals include obtaining microarcsecond astrometry of 1 billion celestial objects.

The individual segments of the torus were built by BOOSTEC, a subcontractor to the Gaia prime contractor EADS Astrium. BOOSTEC also performed the brazing of the torus.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
20-May-2024 22:51 UT

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