Herschel Payload Module Test Campaign
17 August 2005The next stage in the development of the Herschel mission, the testing of the payload module, has begun. Earlier this year the structural thermal model (STM) of the service module (SVM), which houses the electronics and infrastructure to keep the spacecraft flying, was extensively tested in the Large Solar Simulator at ESA's ESTEC facility. Now the payload module (PLM), which will eventually contain the focal plane instruments, mirror and cryogenic tank, has arrived at ESTEC to undergo similar testing, before the two elements are integrated for a full mechanical test later in the year.
The process started last week when the module, loaded into its transport container, was driven from the Astrium facility in Friedrichshafen, Germany, to ESA's ESTEC facility in Holland.
On arrival at ESTEC the 23 tonne cargo was unloaded and moved into Airlock 4. The first task is the setting up and cooling of the cryogenic tank.