ASP-NEWSASP delivers the Engineering Modell (EM) for Ancillary Electronic Units for ESAs PLATO Mission21. April 2021

The PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars mission (PLATO) aims to find and characterise a large number of extra solar planetary systems, with emphasis on the properties of the terrestrial planets in the habitable zone around bright solar-like stars. PLATO also aims at investigating seismic activity in stars, enabling the precise characterisation of the planets’ host star, including its age. PLATO will determine with unprecedented accuracy planet features like radius, stellar irradiation, architecture of planetary systems and evolutionary ages.

In order to achieve its science objectives, PLATO relies on high-precision cameras to produce a large sample of accurate stellar light curves, obtained over time intervals of months to several years, with a high duty cycle. 24 cameras are arranged in 4 groups of 6 cameras each. Each group has the same field of view but is off-set by 9.2 degrees angle from the payload module axis, which enlarges the observed field of view to ~ 2250 degrees. Two fast cameras are also used as a Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS) for the AOCS (higher performances, i.e. much better accuracy, than standard star trackers) in the science observation mode in order to comply with the demanding pointing stability requirements.

ASP is proud to contribute to this science mission and to demonstrate its capabilities in the design, manufacturing, integration and test for a complex power supply for the high precision cameras: The Ancillary Electronic Unit (AEU). The AEU features power for both: the “normal” cameras (N-AEU) and the “fast” cameras (F-AEU). The N-AEU is built of 6 demanding Power Supply Modules, 2 Command and Control Modules and 1 Internal Supply Module. The F-AEU is built of 1 demanding Power Supply Module, 2 Command and Control Modules and 1 Internal Supply module. Outstanding protection functions, filtering, telemetry- and telecommand capabilities as well as full redundancy are implemented. The Command and Control Module has been developed by EvoLeo Technologies LDA. Since ASP features the SMD assembly of spacecraft printed circuit boards according to ECSS-Q-ST-70-38C and has full trained personnel to perform THT assembly, the complete manufacturing of the EQM and FMs will be done at ASP premises in Salem, Germany.

Disclaimer: The view expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Space Agency.

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