Air Monitoring

Analyser Helps Safegaurd NASA's Juno Mission Against Dangerous Contaminants

Oct 24 2016 Read 1127 Times

Along with NASA scientists, Tiger Optics LLC (USA) had reason to cheer when the Juno spacecraft successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit in July, capping its five-year journey from Cape Canaveral. Prior to Juno’s launch on August 5, 2011, a Tiger Optics trace-gas analyser helped NASA keep the scientific payload in prime condition.

As demonstrated in the Juno mission, Tiger Optics’ HALO trace-gas analyser plays a critical role in detecting contaminants that could compromise the performance of scientific instruments in space. Such scientific instruments are designed to operate in the vacuum of space, in the absence of chemicals present in the earth’s atmosphere: water, oxygen, and particulate matter. Prior to launch, the space-bound instruments must be protected from earthly contaminants by storing the payload under a flow of high-purity inert gas. Nitrogen is usually the inert gas chosen for the task. Typically, the moisture level in NASA’s high-purity nitrogen must be kept under 1 ppm. Tiger Optics’ HALO H2O analyser comfortably handled that requirement for the Juno mission, because the device measures moisture in a range from 2 ppb to 20 ppm.

After Juno entered Jupiter’s orbit on July 4, NASA scientists powered up the science instruments aboard the spacecraft for its first close “flyby” of the planet on August 27. On September 2, NASA reported that all eight of Juno’s science instruments were successfully energised and collecting data. Indeed, on the first of 36 scheduled orbital flybys, six megabytes of data were collected during the six-hour transit of the spacecraft from above Jupiter’s north pole to below its south pole. While analysis of the data is ongoing, NASA quickly published the first-ever images of Jupiter’s north pole.

“Tiger Optics is honoured that its technology is trusted to support our nation’s journey into the frontiers of space,” said Lisa Bergson, Tiger Optics’ chief executive.

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