Advanced Components for Thermal Control of a Mercury Orbiting Spacecraft 2004-01-2520
The European Space Agency ESA is preparing a mission to planet Mercury called BepiColombo in cooperation with ISAS, the Japanese space agency. Advanced thermal control materials and components are under development to allow the performance of the mission.
The present paper gives an overview of the BepiColombo thermal control design and give emphasis to the continued effort in the development of a Solar Reflector Coating (SRC), an Optical Solar Reflector (OSR) and an Infra-Red Rejection Device (IRRD). Key issue in the development and validation of the components and related technologies is the long-term stability under the high temperature and high intensity radiation environment in the vicinity of Mercury. Therefore thermal and radiation endurance testing plays a major role. Candidate materials have been selected and the component design been defined. Development tests will establish mechanical, thermal and optical properties for the initial and end of life conditions.