Cryogenic Thermal Testing of the Verification Model Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) Optics Module 2009-01-2410
The Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) is one of four scientific instruments on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) observatory, scheduled for launch in 2014. It will provide unique capabilities to probe the deeply dust-enshrouded regions of the Universe, investigating the history of star formation both near and far.
The MIRI is the coldest instrument on the observatory. Its thermal design is driven by requirements to cool an Optics Module (OM) to below 15.5 K and detectors within this to below 6.7 K with a stability of <10 mK over 1000 seconds. The OM is accommodated within the JWST Integrated Science instrument Module (ISIM) which is cooled passively to between 32 and 40 K. The instrument temperatures are achieved by a combination of thermal isolation of the OM and the ISIM supplemented with active cooling of the OM by a dedicated cryo-cooler.
A flight representative ‘verification model’ underwent two cryogenic thermal test campaigns at the UK's STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory between December 2007 and September 2008. This paper begins by summarizing the thermal design of the MIRI OM and describing the design of the cryogenic test facility. It goes on to describe the two test campaigns and the correlation of the MIRI OM thermal model to the thermal balance test measurements, concluding with the predicted in-flight thermal performance of the instrument based on this testing.