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Ariane 6 Launch: PariSat, Physics in Space After School

Ariane 6 Launch: PariSat, Physics in Space After School

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GAREF AEROSPATIAL club members working on satellite tests

Europe’s newest rocket will soon be launching into space, carrying with it a multitude of space missions, each with a unique purpose, a specific destination and its own team at home to cheer you on. With new satellites being launched to observe and study the Earth, to venture into deep space, or to test important new technologies in orbit, Ariane 6’s maiden flight will showcase the versatility and flexibility of this massive heavy-lift launcher. Read on to learn all about PariSat, and find out who will fly first.

The goal of the PARISAT project is simple: What materials work best at dissipating heat in space? But for this project, which will travel on Europe’s new Ariane 6 rocket, finding the answer is less important than the flight itself.

Parisat during electromagnetic tests

The amateur space club GAREF AEROSPATIAL, based in a building near the Georges-Carpentier stadium in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, France, meets regularly after school to talk, work and get inspired by space and satellite design. These young people, aged between 15 and 25, have built themselves, in their spare time, the PariSat experiment that will fly on an Ariane 6.

Metal radiators

Eight square panels just 4cm wide were tested to see if they could work as space radiators. The panels were chosen to test a wide range of properties, such as the material itself, its colour and how it reacts to heating and cooling as it flies through space on the Ariane 6 upper stage for just under three hours. A temperature sensor attached to each panel will transmit data to ground controllers for analysis, providing readings on “blackbody radiation.”

The experiment allows the club to test and verify the Stefan-Boltzmann law of thermal radiation, which was discovered in 1884 and describes how a body absorbs and radiates heat.

Ariane 1 launched in 1981 with GAREF AEROSPATIAL payload

A noteworthy legacy

ParisSat is not the first GAREF AEROSPATIAL project to escape the clutches of Earth’s gravity: since its founding in 1964, the club has already brought eight experiments into space and this will be the fifth launch from the European Spaceport in French Guiana.

This is the first experiment to be entirely developed and built in-house at the club’s headquarters in Paris. From the initial design to the mechanics, from the electronics to the software and even the welding of the materials, everything was done by GAREF AEROSPATIAL members after school.

GAREF AEROSPATIAL club members at Kiruna station

PariSat will remain attached to the Ariane 6 upper stage. The upper stage is responsible for launching more satellites and also two re-entry capsules. PariSat will sit on it and collect data while its orbit is raised and adjusted by the unique Vinci engine, which can be restarted multiple times during a single Ariane 6 launch.

The data that PariSat will send back to Earth will be received by the Swedish Space Agency’s telemetry station in Kiruna, Sweden.

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