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The design, development, and implementation of a solar environmental simulator (SES) for the SAO Faraday Cup on Solar Probe Plus

AuthorCheimets, Peter; Bookbinder, Jay; Freeman, Mark; Gates, Richard; Gauron, Thomas; Guth, Giora; Kasper, Justin; McCracken, Kenneth; Podgorski, William;
KeywordsArc lamps; Power control; Probes; Test facilities; Parker Engineering
AbstractThis paper describes the implementation of a solar simulator, know as the Solar Environment Simulator (SES), that can simulate solar flux levels up to those encountered at 9.8 solar radii. The paper outlines the design, and the challenges of realizing the SES. It also describes its initial uses for proving out the design of the Solar Winds Electrons, Alphas, and Protons (SWEAP) Faraday cup. The upcoming Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission requires that its in-situ plasma instrument (the Faraday Cup) survive and operate over an unprecedented range of temperatures. One of the key risk mitigation activities during Phase B has been to develop and implement a simulator that will enable thermal testing of the Faraday Cup under flight-like conditions. While still in the initial start-up, the SES has proven to be an instrumental component in the process of predicting the inflight performance of the SWEAP Faraday Cup. With near continuously variable power control above the threshold of 1.6kW/lamp up to approximately 6.5kW/lamp, the SES has been used to determine the system response to a wide range of incoming flux, thereby making it possible to correlate detailed thermal models to a high degree of certainty (see Ref. [1], Figure 1.1). The SES consists of a set of repurposed, and slightly re-designed standard movie projectors. The projectors have proven to be an economical and effective means to safely hold and control the xenon short-arc lamps that are the basis of the SES. This paper outlines the key challenges controlling the extremely high flux levels (∼70w/cm2) necessary to make the SES a useful test facility. © 2013 SPIE.
Year of Publication2013
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Number of PagesThe Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) -
Date Published