Solar Orbiter during thermal-vacuum tests
This video shows the Solar Orbiter spacecraft during tests conducted in December 2018 in the thermal-vacuum chamber at the IABG facility in Ottobrunn, Germany.
Filmed with an infrared camera, the video shows the rotation of the spacecraft. It starts by displaying the +Z panel, on which the medium-gain antenna and some of the thrusters are located, slowly revealing the Sun-facing panel of the spacecraft, covered with a heat shield to protect the entire platform from direct solar radiation. Sliding doors on the heat shield, visible in the upper part of the Sun-facing panel in this view, cover the feed-throughs of most of the remote-sensing instruments.
Inside the chamber, powerful lamps simulate the Sun's radiation to demonstrate that the spacecraft can sustain the extreme temperatures it will encounter in the Sun's vicinity.
This video was taken with an infrared camera, and the colouring indicates the temperatures of the spacecraft surface, corresponding to the range indicated in the colour bar on the right-hand side.
During this thermal-vacuum test on the spacecraft, the solar beam was used at its maximum flux of about 1800 W/m², reaching temperatures up to 107.6 °C. An additional thermal-vacuum test was conducted on the heat shield that protects the entire platform from direct solar radiation: during this test, which used infrared plates to simulate the Sun's heat, the heat shield reached higher temperatures, up to 520 °C, similar to what it will experience during operations.