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A SMILE for future space weather forecasting as Payload Module travels to China

By Eric Van Rees - 21st March 2022 - 08:01

The structural thermal model (STM) of the payload module (PLM) of the SMILE (Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) mission has successfully passed its Delivery Review Board (DRB).

The SMILE STM payload is now on its way to Luxembourg from where it will start its journey to Shanghai. On arrival it will be integrated onto the Chinese platform, to complete the qualification of the satellite.

“This is the first time that ESA and China have jointly selected, designed, implemented, launched and operated a space mission and Airbus is very pleased to be part of it,” said Philippe Pham, Head of Earth Observation and Science at Airbus. “Understanding space weather is key to being able to predict events that can affect our planet's magnetosphere, satellites in orbit and even electrical infrastructure here on Earth.”

The STM payload module returned to Airbus in Spain after completing thermal testing and deployment tests of the magnetometer’s boom at ESA-ESTEC, in the Netherlands. A mechanical test was then carried out at Airbus’ Madrid-Barajas site, finalizing the environmental test campaign that lasted three months.

Integration onto the Chinese platform is expected to begin in early April. Once the complete satellite is finished, it will undergo a comprehensive five month long qualification test campaign including thermal, mechanical, EMC, magnetic, deployment and functional tests at system level. Airbus will give remote support.

Read More: Satellite Imaging Environmental Data capture

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