RUAG Space protects Europe's exoplanet hunter from extreme temperatures in space

The Vienna-based space company RUAG Space will be responsible for thermal insulation on the PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of stars) satellite mission. With the telescope, the European Space Agency ESA is dedicated to the targeted search for Earth-like planets that may harbor life. The launch is planned for 2026: The two-ton satellite will be transported to the Kourou spaceport in a high-tech container from Vienna.
Heat protection from Austria for the planetary hunter PLATO
Heat protection from Austria for the planetary hunter PLATO (OHB System AG)

"The black thermal dress for the satellite platform comes from Austria and protects the European satellite from the extreme temperatures in space, which vary on average between minus 200 and up to plus 300 degrees Celsius," RUAG Space Austria CEO Andreas Buhl said in a release Monday. According to the statement, PLATO's outer skin consists of several layers of thin polyimide films.

Under the direction of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the satellite will use 26 highly sensitive cameras to collect indications of exoplanets at a distance of about 1.5 million kilometers from Earth in the smallest fluctuations in brightness that occur when a planet passes by a sun ("planetary transit"). From the Austrian side, the Graz Institute for Space Research (IWF) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW) and the Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Vienna are also involved. The two institutions are supplying hardware and software for the mission.