ESA’s newest radio-frequency test facility will be on show during this Sunday afternoon’s virtual ESA Open Day. The Low-temperature Near-field Terahertz Chamber, or Lorentz. allows direct measurement of antenna systems in extreme vacuum and thermal conditions, including the chill of deep space.
Based at ESTEC in the Netherlands, Lorentz can test high-frequency RF systems such as stand-alone antennas and complete radiometers at between 50 to 1250 Gigahertz in space-quality vacuum for several days on end, in temperature from just 90 degrees above absolute zero up to 120 °C.
Earlier this year Lorentz was put to work testing the Juice mission to Jupiter’s radiometer – destined to probe the thin atmospheres of Jupiter’s largest moons. Watch a video report of the testing here.