PLATO is an ambitious science mission within ESAs Cosmic Vision program.
The objective of the mission is the detection and characterization of extrasolar planetary systems and their host stars. This includes 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 precise characterization of the planet host star including its age.
ASP-Equipment has been contracted by ESA for the development, manufacturing, assembly, integration and test of the PLATO Ancillary Electronic Units (AEU).
The payload consists of 24 cameras with CCD-based focal planes, operating in white light. They will be read out with a cadence of 25 s and will monitor stars. Two additional ‘fast’ cameras with high read-out cadence (2.5 s) will be used for dark stars.
The PLATO Ancillary Electronic Units (AEU) includes two different types of units. The F-AEU is connected to the two fast cameras and each of the two N-AEUs is connected to 12 normal cameras. They are located in the Service Module of the satellite and are controlled by the Instrument Control Unit (ICU).
As first main function, the Ancillary Electronic Units (AEUs) supply secondary power to the Front End Electronics (FEE) of each camera.
The second main function is synchronization of various sub-systems: Cameras, AEUs internal power converters and camera heating.
The synchronisation signals are generated in two master synchronisation modules (MSM) inside the F-AEU operating in cold redundancy. The synchronisation signals are distributed from there to the Camera FEEs, the AEUs internal power converters and to the camera heater control inside the Service Module.
ASP-Equipment GmbH and its subcontractor Evoleo Technolgies feature the complete value chain for the design, development and analysis of the AEU. Manufacturing, Integration and Test will be performed exclusively at ASP-Equipment GmbH.