Gaia QM deployable sunshield set-up in the LSS
On 11 July the qualification model (QM) of Gaia's deployable sunshield was installed inside the Large Space Simulator (LSS) at ESTEC. Over the next days the set-up was finalized for the upcoming thermal vacuum/thermal balance (TV/TB) test, which is performed inside the LSS under simulated space conditions.
This overhead view of the test set-up in the LSS main vacuum chamber shows the QM sunshield in deployed configuration during the test preparations.
The three masts of the zero-g kit (used to simulate weightlessness) stand next to the assembly, with the three panels of the QM sunshield each attached to a pulley and counterweight system on the masts. The large reflective foil hanging from the top edge of the vacuum chamber is a mask, which has an opening matching exactly the shape of the deployed sunshield. The mask allows light from the Sun simulator to impinge directly only onto the Sun side of the sunshield and blocks light that would otherwise pass the sunshield and reflect inside the vacuum chamber back onto the shadow side of the sunshield.
The LSS chamber was closed on 20 July for the start of the TV/TB test.