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9 October 2008 The Gaia challenge: testing high performance CCDs in large quantities
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Gaia, funded by ESA with EADS Astrium as the prime contractor, is an ambitious space observatory designed to measure the positions of around one billion stars with unprecedented accuracy and is currently planned for launch in 2011. The Gaia instrument will feature a focal plane containing 106 large area CCD91-72s manufactured by e2v technologies. This will be the largest CCD focal plane ever flown in space covering an area of 0.286m2. To ensure that the devices meet the required high specification, they undergo significant testing before being accepted by the end user. This involves geometrical, mechanical, environmental, endurance, electrical and electro-optical testing. With the flight phase contract for Gaia requiring the delivery of 130 flight grade devices (plus another 40 engineering devices of various grades), the volume of testing is an order of magnitude greater than and of similar timescale to, the typical space programmes e2v technologies are involved with. This paper will begin by providing an overview of the Gaia mission and the custom CCD91-72 that e2v technologies have designed for it. Next the various phases of the Gaia programme will be outlined and how e2v approached the test requirements for each stage. Problems encountered, lessons learned, and technical and logistical solutions implemented at each stage will be presented, to discuss how e2v technologies improved the quality of the test data whilst reducing the test times. There will be particular emphasis on the electro-optical testing and the test cameras on which this is performed.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Andrew Walker, Tim Eaton, Roy Steward, John Turton, Anthony Knoepfle, Tom Wynne, Peter Gillespie, Alastair Curnock, David Cooper, Arwel Evans, and Matt Watcham "The Gaia challenge: testing high performance CCDs in large quantities", Proc. SPIE 7106, Sensors, Systems, and Next-Generation Satellites XII, 71061H (9 October 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.802953;


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