YPSat gift wrapped for Ariane 6 flight

YPSat Gift Wrapped for its Journey on Ariane 6 Flight

by Staff Writers

Paris (ESA) Dec 27, 2023

Wrapping gifts is an integral part of the Christmas festivities. At ESA’s technical center ESTEC, a remarkable example of gift wrapping can be found. The Young Professionals Satellite (YPSat), a project entirely managed by ESA Young Professionals, is seen fully covered in multi-layer insulation blankets. This is the exact configuration it will have when it embarks on its maiden voyage aboard the inaugural Ariane 6 mission next year.

YPSat serves as a platform for ESA Young Professionals to gain hands-on experience in designing, building, and testing space hardware. It is equipped with cameras, a quantum-based magnetic sensor, and an amateur radio unit. The primary objective of YPSat is to capture all the significant phases of Ariane 6’s inaugural flight.

Julien Krompholtz, the current project manager of YPSat, comments, “Wrapping a payload in multi-layer insulation is both an art and a science. The ten layers of MLI enveloping the payload play a crucial role in our thermal design. They ensure that YPSat’s On-Board Computer, in particular, maintains an optimal operating temperature while in orbit aboard Ariane 6.”

MLI blankets consist of multiple layers of extremely thin, metal-coated plastic film. Low-conducting spacer materials such as silk, nylon, or glass-fiber netting are placed in-between. Alternatively, MLI is sometimes intentionally crinkled to minimize contact between the layers.

Why are MLI blankets commonly used for space hardware? In the vacuum of space, objects can experience simultaneous hot and cold temperatures, especially if one side is exposed to sunlight while the other remains in the shade. In such conditions, thermal radiation becomes the primary driver of temperature changes, and reflective MLI serves to minimize its impact.

Additionally, YPSat incorporates a “Phase Change Material” called Docosane. As the payload operates, this substance will melt, absorbing any excess thermal energy, similar to how evaporation of sweat cools down the body.

Related Links

Learn more about YPSat at ESA

Stay updated with Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com

In summary, YPSat, the Young Professionals Satellite, is being meticulously prepared for its upcoming journey on the Ariane 6 mission. The wrapping process, which involves multi-layer insulation blankets, is a crucial aspect of the satellite’s thermal design. With its advanced equipment and ambitious goals, YPSat will capture key moments during Ariane 6’s first flight. To learn more about YPSat and stay updated with the latest news on microsatellites, visit the provided links.

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