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29 July 2016 Radiation, Thermal Gradient and Weight: a threefold dilemma for PLATO
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Abstract
The project PLAnetary Transits and Oscillations of stars (PLATO) is one of the selected medium class (M class) missions in the framework of the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 program. The mean scientific goal of PLATO is the discovery and study of extrasolar planetary systems by means of planetary transits detection. The opto mechanical subsystem of the payload is made of 32 normal telescope optical units (N-TOUs) and 2 fast telescope optical units (FTOUs). The optical configuration of each TOU is an all refractive design based on six properly optimized lenses. In the current baseline, in front of each TOU a Suprasil window is foreseen. The main purposes of the entrance window are to shield the following lenses from possible damaging high energy radiation and to mitigate the thermal gradient that the first optical element will experience during the launch from ground to space environment. In contrast, the presence of the window increases the overall mass by a non-negligible quantity. We describe here the radiation and thermal analysis and their impact on the quality and risks assessment, summarizing the trade-off process with pro and cons on having or dropping the entrance window in the optical train.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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