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26. Januar 2011; Adam Coulon

Space is a unique environment and is very different than conditions here on Earth. Before any component or system can be qualified to work and perform well in space, it must be tested in space like conditions first. In orbit, the Flying Laptop has the potential to experience a wide range of temperatures so it is important to determine how the different components of the satellite function and preform as a result. The thermal-vacuum tests preformed on the MICS (Multispectral Imaging Camera System) camera sensor and electronics had two main goals. The first goal was to determine the relationship between temperature and noise generation in the images. The second was to preform the thermal and vacuum qualifying tests in order to show in which temperature range the MICS will be able to function and preform satisfactorily in space like conditions.

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The MICS electronics and sensor were placed inside the IRS space simulator on top of a copper plate whose temperature could be controlled. An integrating sphere was used to generate a constant light source which would allow for direct comparisons between images when calculating noise. The sphere was placed outside of the chamber and through the use of fiber optics, it traveled inside and illuminated the sensor. Everything was then placed inside of a copper and aluminum shroud to decrease heating and cooling time.

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A thermal camera was used before the test to determine the "hot-spots" of the electronics. After reviewing the images, temperature sensors were placed on these hot spots which had the highest risk of failure or malfunction. Extra sensors were also added in order to give a more comprehensive look at the temperature of the electronics as a whole.