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TMCNet:  Several Terma Marks on Billion-star Surveyor GAIA

[December 23, 2013]

Several Terma Marks on Billion-star Surveyor GAIA

(ENP Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) ENP Newswire - 23 December 2013 Release date- 20122013 - Terma provided a real-time simulator and test support to ESA's GAIA mission and was involved in onboard software development and validation.

During the 2006-2013 time span, Terma provided a real-time simulator and test support to ESA's GAIA mission and was involved in onboard software development and validation.

Today, the billion-star surveyor spacecraft was successfully launched from ESA's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on a Soyuz-STB/Fregat-MT launch vehicle towards its five-year journey.

GAIA - Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics - will make the most precise three-dimensional map of our Galaxy ever by surveying more than a thousand million stars. It will monitor each of its target stars about 70 times.

It will precisely chart each star's positions, distances, movements, and changes in brightness and it will map their motions, luminosity, temperature, and composition. It is expected to discover hundreds of thousands of new celestial objects, such as extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs, and observe hundreds of thousands of asteroids within our own Solar System. The mission will also study about 500.000 distant quasars.

This huge stellar census will provide the data needed to tackle an enormous range of important problems related to the origin, structure, and evolutionary history of our Galaxy.

GAIA contains two optical telescopes that work with three science instruments to precisely determine the location of stars and their velocities, and to split their light into a spectrum for analysis.

GAIA will map the stars from an orbit around the Sun, at a distance of 1.5 million km beyond Earth's orbit. The spacecraft is controlled from ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany.

Terma's involvement 'Terma's involvement in developing the GAIA spacecraft has paved the way for Terma Space to enter into a number of new missions being under development today and to be launched over the next few years such as BepiColombo, Meteosat Third Generation, and Solar Orbiter,' said Carsten Jorgensen, Senior Vice President, Terma Space.

The integration of the GAIA payload took place at Astrium, Toulouse (France).

Terma provided uninterrupted on-site support for the Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) test bench development & operations. Terma's involvement spanned the duration of the payload Assembly Integration and Test (AIT) activities, from 2007 until early 2013, when the integration campaign culminated with a 40-day thermal-vacuum test at the Centre Spatial de Liege (CSL) facility in Liege, Belgium.

At Astrium, Stevenage (UK), Terma provided on-site support as part of the onboard software development team. GAIA has been designed to map the stars to an unprecedented accuracy, and will spend its operational life in a slow spin, perfectly matched to the frequency of charge transfer on each of its 106 CCD cameras.

All of this is made feasible by the onboard software, which takes constant measurements of drift from the Video Processor Units and converts them into inputs to the unique micro propulsion system to perfectly tune the spin rate. 1000 times per second, every star entering the field of view must be analyzed for type and magnitude, prioritized, and then allocated a detection window that will follow it as it transits the CCDs. Terma was involved in the validation of this complex onboard processing as part of the software validation group.

Terma was also involved in developing the GAIA Real-Time Simulator (RTS), together with Dutch Space. The RTS is a central element in several test benches. It has two main configurations: A Numerical Bench, in which all spacecraft components, including the Control and Data Management Unit (CDMU), are simulated. The bench is used for AIT simulation activities, Independent Software Validation (ISV), and as development platform for the CDMU On-Board Software (OBS).

A Hybrid Bench, in which the real CDMU hardware is used and other simulated spacecraft components are gradually replaced by their respective hardware. The bench is used for Avionics Model and Spacecraft Proto-Flight Model AIT activities.

Terma's responsibility was to develop the CDMU simulator. The development of the CDMU Simulator draws on the experience gained with developing Software Validation Facilities (SVFs) for the Herschel/Planck, Rosetta, and XMM-Newton missions.

The kickoff for the Gaia RTS project was in November 2006, and the Simulator was completed in June 2008. Since then, Terma has provided support on request.

About Terma Terma develops products and systems for defense, non-defense, and security applications, including command and control systems, radar systems, self-protection systems for ships and aircraft, space technology, and advanced aerostructures for the international aircraft industry.

The group, headquartered at Aarhus, Denmark, has a total staff of 1,050, realized 2012/13 revenues of USD 200 million, and maintains international subsidiaries and operations in The Netherlands, Germany, Singapore, India, and in the U.S.

Further information about Terma is available at Press Contact: Kasper Rasmussen Director Tel: +45 2022 6091 Email: [Editorial queries for this story should be sent to] ((Comments on this story may be sent to (c) 2013 Electronic News Publishing -

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