The I/R Thermal Balance Test of Radarsat-2: Approach to Verification / Correlation
Radarsat-2 is a commercial Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite for earth observation.  The general stowed configuration is shown in Figure 1. In nominal operation mode, once deployed, the large SAR polarimetric Antenna (i.e. able to transmit and receive both horizontal and vertical polarisations) is inclined of about -29.8° versus the nominal direction of geodetic local surface normal (Right Looking mode). When is necessary to take images of South Pole, nominally not visible from SAR, the S/C must be rotated to the +29.8° position (Left Looking mode). During the Radarsat-2 thermal testing the S/C (PFM) was subjected to a first thermal balance/thermal cycling test in vacuum with simulation of external heat fluxes by means of I/R lamps and additional test heaters. A very complex thermal test configuration was required in order to simulate the continually varying thermal environment imposed by the S/C nominal sun-synchronous orbit and attitude.