The thermal architecture of the ESA ARIEL payload at the end of phase B1

G. Morgante*, L. Terenzi, L. Desjonqueres, P. Eccleston, G. Bishop, A. Caldwell, M. Crook, R. Drummond, M. Hills, T. Hunt, D. Rust, L. Puig, T. Tirolien, M. Focardi, P. Zuppella, W. Holmes, J. Amiaux, M. Czupalla, M. Rataj, N. C. JessenS. M. Pedersen, E. Pascale, E. Pace, G. Malaguti, G. Micela

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanets Large-survey (ARIEL) is the fourth medium (M4) mission selected in the context of the ESA Cosmic Vision 2015–2025 programme, with a launch planned in 2028. During 4 years of flight operations, ARIEL will probe the chemical and physical properties of approximately 1000 known exoplanets by observing their atmosphere, to study how planetary systems form and evolve [1, 2]. The mission is designed as a transit and eclipse spectroscopy survey, operated by a 1-m class telescope feeding two instruments, the Fine Guidance system (FGS) and the ARIEL InfraRed Spectrometer (AIRS), that accommodate photometric and spectroscopic channels covering the band from 0.5 to 7.8 μm in the visible to near-IR range [3, 4]. The mission high sensitivity requirements ask for an extremely stable thermo-mechanical platform. The payload thermal control is based on a passive and active cooling approach. Passive cooling is achieved by a V-Groove shields system that exploits the L2 orbit favourable thermal conditions to cool the telescope and the optical bench to stable temperatures <60 K. The FGS focal planes operate at the optical bench temperature while the AIRS channel detectors require a colder reference, lower than 42 K. This is provided by an active cooling system based on a Neon Joule-Thomson cold end, fed by a mechanical compressor. In this paper we report the thermal architecture of the payload at the end of Phase B1 and present the requirements that drive the design together with the analyses results and the expected performances.

Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Cryogenics
  • Exoplanets
  • Infrared spectroscopy
  • Passive cooling
  • Thermal control


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