PREPARING FOR THE TVT (Thermo Vacuum Test)

April 5th, 2010

The preparation of this test has taken more than three weeks. ESTEC test center hosts the largest space simulator in Europe, one of the largest in the world. In order to perform this test, the AMS-02 experiment needs to be installed on a special stand, dubbed “gondola”, built with amagnetic steel to be insensitive to the AMS-02 magnetic field, in order to be rotated in an horizontal position.

The gondola structure ready to host the AMS-02 payload for the test in the ESTEC Large Space Simulator

The AMS-02 payload has been equipped with hundreds of temperature sensors, to monitor the temperature of the various subsystem components during the various phases of the Thermo Vacuum Test.

On the morning of march 31st, the door of the Large Space Simulator has been closed and by the end of the day the residual pressure inside the chamber decreased below 6 10^-10 bar, 0,6 billionth of the atmospheric pressure. At that point, the temperature of the shroud of the space simulator was slowly decreased to reach -90 C (183 K), in order to simulate the boundary conditions of deep empty space which act like a heat sink absorbing the energy radiated from the experiment.

The AMS-02 payload installed in the ESTEC Large Space Simulator ready to undergo Thermo Vacuum testing