GOCE (the Gravity Field and Steady State Ocean Circulation Explorer) is the first Earth Explorer Core Mission of the Earth Observation Envelope Program of the European Space Agency (ESA).
The Satellite is planned to be launched in June 2008 on a Rockot launcher into a near-circular sun-synchronous orbit for Earth's gravity field measurements.
The objective of the mission is to produce high-accuracy, high-resolution, global measurements of the Earth's gravity by satellite, leading to improved gravity field and geoid models for use in a wide range of applications (geodesy, solid-Earth physics, oceanography, climate, ice topography). In particular, the goal is to produce a map of the gravity anomaly field with an accuracy better than 1mGal (1 mGal=10-5 m s-2), and of the geoid height with accuracy better than 1 cm, all over the Earth's surface with a resolution at sea level of at least 100 km.
Thales Alenia Space Italy (Turin) is the system level responsible of the Satellite that is made mainly by the Platform under the responsibility of EADS Astrium Germany and by the Electrostatic Gravity Gradiometer (EGG) payload under the responsibility of Thales Alenia Space France (Cannes). The S/C is equipped also with the Satellite-to-Satellite Tracking Instrument (SSTI) developed by Thales Alenia Space Italy (Milan) and Laser Retro Reflector (LRR) Instrument provided by the Agency.
GOCE Proto-Flight Model (PFM) was tested in the Large Space Simulator of ESTEC facilities (Noordwijk, Netherlands) from October 27th to November 12th of 2007.
The purpose of the paper is to:
describe the selected thermal control design
present the TB/TV Test approach and the selected test configurations
give an overview of the Test and the achieved correlation results
address performance of the GOCE thermal control subsystem under the various operating, non-operating conditions during the mission phases
present the thermal test correlation findings and mathematical model updates