STIX Detector Electronics Module

Almatech Contribution

The X-Ray detectors of the STIX instrument are accommodated in a Detector Box that is directly fixed to the spacecraft. This box interfaces mechanically and electrically to the Instrument Data Processing Unit (IDPU) and to the Attenuator Mechanism and form altogether the Detector Electronics Module (DEM).

For this complex project, Almatech led an international consortium of multi-disciplinary partners (in the thermal, structural and electronic fields) from all around Europe while being in charge of all mechanical, thermal and electrical design and MAIT of the Detector Electronic Module (DEM). The main challenges included high thermal insulation needs (100°C ΔT) with a low cooling budget and a precise positioning (±0.2mm) of the detectors.

“The Detector Electronic Module represents a level of complexity equivalent to a full instrument. As the project Prime and sole responsible for the delivery of the DEM we had to handle multiple challenges in various fields of engineering that made our journey even more interesting! ”

Angel Iglesias

Mechanical and Thermal Engineer

About the mission

Solar Orbiter is a Science mission of jointly developed between ESA and NASA, that was selected as the first medium (M)-class mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision  programme for launch in 2019. Solar Orbiter’s goal is to address the central question of Heliophysics: how does the Sun create and control the heliosphere? Solar Orbiter is designed to identify the origins and causes of the solar wind, the heliospheric magnetic field, the solar energetic particles, the transient interplanetary disturbances, and the Sun’s magnetic field.

About the payload

The Spectrometer/Telescope for Imaging X-rays (STIX) instrument will image in X-rays the extremely hot Plasma heated to tens of millions of degrees and the high-energy electrons accelerated to nearly the speed of light that are emitted during a solar flare.

The Solar Orbiter Mission (Credit ESA)

temperature drop across insulation

detector position accuracy during operation in orbit

cooling budget