Structures for Millimetron space observatory
Academician M.F. Reshetnev Information Satellite Systems is currently developing the onboard scientific instruments subsystem of the space-based observatory Millimetron and performing its components testing.
ISS-Reshetnev specialists have already made structural engineering models of Millimetron’s thermal control subsystem components. One of them will be used for testing heat shields which are intended to protect the observatory’s mirror system from heat of the Sun and the Earth. The other model represents a prototype of a cryogenic shield 11 meters in diameter which is designed to help cool down Millimetron’s mirror system.
Apart from that ISS-Reshetnev Company is now tasked with assembling models of the reflector structures which are part of the telescope’s primary mirror.
All Millimetron’s large-sized structures, including its reflector, cryogenic shield, heating radiators and heat shields will be made in a foldable fashion to allow their accommodation under the launch vehicle’s nose fairing. ISS-Reshetnev specialists hand in hand with their colleagues from various scientific and research institutions now try to find solutions how to safely fixate these structures in the folded position.
The main thing about the space-based observatory Millimetron is that its mirror system and scientific instruments will have to operate at temperatures of around 4.5 degrees Kelvin (minus 269 degrees Celsius). The observatory’s instruments are to be cooled down to extremely low temperatures in order to achieve their superior sensitivity. Thus, the problem of assuring proper performance of the observatory’s scientific instruments is one of the main issues that have to be dealt with within the framework of this project. In this regard, ISS-Reshetnev Company works not only on the thermal control subsystem of the spacecraft’s telescope, but also, working in concert with academic institutions, conducts extensive research into new materials that will be used in the telescope’s structures.
The space observatory Millimetron is being built for the Russian Federal Space Agency. Within the scope of this project, Lavochkin Research and Production Association is responsible for the spacecraft’s service systems module, while the mission-critical payload is a joint effort between the Astro Space Center of the Physical Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences and ISS-Reshetnev Company.
The Millimetron observatory is intended to study deep space objects covering the millimeter, submillimeter and infrared spectral ranges. The spacecraft is expected to have a 10-year active lifespan.