PLATO (PLAnetary Transitsand Oscillations of stars) is the third medium-class mission in ESA's Cosmic Vision programme. Its objective is to find and study a large number of extrasolar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around solar-like stars. PLATO has also been designed to investigate seismic activity in stars, enabling the precise characterisation of the planet host star, including its age.
INTA as Test House for PLATO
Environmental testing Area (TVAC -ANDROMEDA) "ISO 8" CONDITIONS
(ALL SYSTEMS READY AND UNDER OPERATION FROM JANUARY 2022)
The TVAC-Andromeda Project consists of upgrading building N-09 to carry out climate preparation, verification and testing activities in space projects under "ISO 8" Clean Area conditions.
It includes the updating and expansion of the air conditioning and particle cleaning facilities in the Climatic Environmental Testing Laboratory (Environmental Testing Area / Equipment and Systems Testing Department), housed in the N-09 building of the INTA Technological Campus in Torrejón de Ardoz, and where a new space thermal vacuum simulator (TVAC ANDRÓMEDA) has been installed, with dimensions Ø 2 m x L = 3 m and with specific characteristics for testing optical systems for space application.
Characteristics of TVAC Andromeda
- Un helpful accessories removed from the Laboratory. Therefore, a lot of space available for PLATO operation.
- Large access door to the operating annex clean room a vailable, so usable space for PLATO operation if needed.
- All test included in FAT carried out according to the initial specifications, and onlypending of a final Bake-Out for cleaning TVAC and test to PLATO dummy (all TEB under operation).
- INTA technical staff under going final training. Current plan is to have 8 techniciansready for operation at the end of February.
- Auxiliary equipment's checked (Thermal Plate, TQCM, Spectrometer, DAS (250 TCs_type T available), Feedthrough, etc).
- LN2 flooding test performed (at least 3 times).
- External Vibration test performed.
- 1 TEB line checked.
- Mechanical parts checked and under operation.