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The European Space Agency (ESA) is employing advanced cryogenics to enable its newest satellites to study some of the coldest places in the universe. The Herschel and Planck satellites will launch on Thursday, May 14, from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana.
Cryostat Cools Spacecraft with Helium- 5/4/2009
Herschel and Planck have been fuelled with hydrazine. Planck’s three-stage active cryogenic cooler, needed to keep the instruments at temperatures of 1.7K, has been filled with helium-3 and helium-4. Herschel's cryogenic tanks are also being filled with superfluid helium.
At launch time, Herschel’s cryostat tank will contain approximately 2300 liters of superfluid helium-II. Read about the lengthy process of obtaining, transporting, filling and finally utilizing the cryogenic gas on SpaceDaily.com.
Photo credit: ESA