The ESA Polar Platform, as part of the ESA Columbus Development Programme, is scheduled to be launched as single passenger by an Ariane 5 vehicle in mid 1998.
The multimission platform is designed to accommodate a wide range of payload complements to be flown on a series of missions in order to satisfy the growing future earth observation needs in continuation of the current ERS programme.
Multi-mission capability is achieved by design modularity wherever feasible and cost-effective.
This paper describes the thermal control design of the Polar Platform which follows its modular configuration and which has to cope with a wide range of generic performance parameters, whilst being adaptable to provide optimised performance for specific missions.
Special thermal control features are highlighted as the software and hardware controlled heater systems, thermal doublers using carbon / carbon material and the battery compartment heat pipe radiator.
In addition the logical interrelationship between the numerous thermal mathematical models representing different parts of the platform and different levels of assembly is explained.
Finally, the thermal test programme is outlined, aimed at verifying thermal modelling and demonstrating functional operation at different stages of the development and using different modules of the Polar Platform.