SITAEL for Solar Orbiter: Italian technology flying to the Sun

ESA/NASA mission, the new Sun explorer Solar Orbiter has been launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The mission will answer some of the biggest questions in solar science, SITAEL contributed with its technology on different core experiments on board. 

Cape Canaveral, February 9th, 2020 – Everything worked as planned on board of the Atlas V 411 rocket for the ESA/NASA Solar Orbiter Mission, lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Florida February 9th, 2020 at 11:03 p.m. local Time.
Solar Orbiter is a 7-years mission dedicated to the study the Sun and its environment. The aim of the mission is to perform detailed measurements of the inner heliosphere and the nascent solar winds, and also to make close observations of the polar regions of the Sun, which have never been observed before.

SITAEL delivered its technology for various core instruments of the satellite.

In particular, the company developed:

  • for OHB-Italia and ASI, the Power and Processing Unit for the METIS Coronagraph a fully Italian instrument and one of the most important Solar Orbiter experiments, conceived for simultaneously imaging the visible and ultraviolet emission of the Sun’s corona. SITAEL electronics will command the METIS instrument operations: METIS, conceived by INAF Torino, will diagnose, with unprecedented temporal coverage and spatial resolution, the structures and dynamics of the solar corona;
  • for ASI, with an Italian team of Industries led by TSD , the Data Processing Unit (DPU) of the Solar Wind Analyzer (SWA), which will measure solar wind speed, density and composition and will relate the solar wind with its source regions. The modules developed by SITAEL are the hearth and the brain for the four sensors of the Solar Wind Analyzer;
  • for the European Space Agency ESA the  High Voltage Power Supply units for the STIX payload, which will provide images of X-ray emitted by the Sun. SITAEL is one of the few companies in Europe able to provide such an high voltage technology.

Already a reference partner in over 30 space international missions, SITAEL is proud to be part of Solar Orbiter mission with various hi-tech elements: this presence confirms once more the company position as a leading player in the global space business.

Solar Orbiter represents a fundamental step in the Solar System research because it will allow to observe and study our Sun and its poles at close distance for the first time in the history of mankind. The Sun activity plays an important role in Earth economy: understanding its mechanisms in detail can protect, among others, Telecommunications and Energy Distribution.