Gaia Flight Model spacecraft being lifted onto its support pedestal
The Gaia Flight Model spacecraft being lifted onto its support pedestal for electromagnetic compatibility testing in the EMC chamber at Intespace, Toulouse, France.
The pedestal elevates the spacecraft above the floor of the test chamber. Only in this way can the signals from the Phased Array Antenna (PAA), which is on the 'bottom' face of the spacecraft, be captured. The pedestal is made of Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer (GFRP), to minimise its effect on the measurements.
As the EMC test facility cannot meet the cleanliness requirements for the spacecraft optics, the apertures in the Payload Module thermal tent have all been covered to prevent the ingress of contaminants. One of the telescope apertures is facing the camera and is covered with red/brown film.