In order to measure aerothermal parameters on the back cover of the ExoMars Schiaparelli lander the instrumentation package COMARS+ was developed by DLR. Consisting of three combined aerothermal sensors, one broadband radiometer sensor and an electronic box the payload provides important data for future missions. The aerothermal sensors called COMARS combine four discrete sensors measuring static pressure, total heat flux, temperature and radiative heat flux at two specific spectral bands. The infrared radiation in a broadband spectral range is measured by the separate broadband radiometer sensor. The electronic box of the payload is used for amplification, conditioning and multiplexing of the sensor signals. The design of the payload was mainly carried out using numerical tools including structural analyses, to simulate the main mechanical loads which occur during launch and stage separation, and thermal analyses to simulate the temperature environment during cruise phase and Mars entry. To validate the design an extensive qualification test campaign was conducted on a set of qualification models. The tests included vibration and shock tests to simulate launch loads and stage separation shocks. Thermal tests under vacuum condition were performed to simulate the thermal environment of the capsule during the different flight phases. Furthermore electromagnetic compatibility tests were conducted to check that the payload is compatible with the electromagnetic environment of the capsule and does not emit electromagnetic energy that could cause electromagnetic interference in other devices. For the sensor heads located on the ExoMars back cover radiation tests were carried out to verify their radiation hardness. Finally the bioburden reduction process was demonstrated on the qualification hardware to show the compliance with the planetary protection requirements. To test the actual heat flux, pressure and infrared radiation measurement under representative conditions, aerothermal tests were performed in an arc-heated wind tunnel facility. After all qualification tests were passed successfully, the acceptance test campaign for the flight hardware at acceptance level included the same tests than the qualification campaign except shock, radiation hardness and aerothermal tests. After passing all acceptance tests, the COMARS+ flight hardware was integrated into the Schiaparelli capsule in January 2015 at the ExoMars integration site at Thales Alenia Space in Turin. Although the landing of Schiaparelli failed, resulting in the loss of most COMARS+ flight data because they were stored on the lander, some data points were directly transmitted to the orbiter at low sampling rate during the entry phase. These data indicate that all COMARS+ sensors delivered useful data until parachute deployment with the exception of the plasma black-out phase. Since measured structure and sensor housing temperatures are far below predicted pre-flight values, a new calibration using COMARS+ spare sensors at temperatures below 0 °C is necessary.
Space Science Reviews – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 30, 2017
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