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Innovative sensor technology on a space mission

Endress+Hauser continuously develops its range of products, solutions and services together with its customers. This makes everyday life in the process industry easier, safer and more efficient while creating new opportunities –even in outer space.  

Qualified for outer space  

Endress+Hauser’s measurement engineering doesn’t only provide its reliable services here on Earth: Sensors from Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG, which is part of the Endress+Hauser Group, have been successfully used in aerospace projects for many years. 

A series of platinum temperature sensors based on thin-film technology has now received the ESCC Qualification from the European Space Agency (ESA). The sensors are therefore standardized for use in space and can be deployed on any mission.  

Universal use: Platinum temperature sensors with thin-film technology are produced in a clean environment.
Universal use: Platinum temperature sensors with thin-film technology are produced in a clean environment.

In the past, the ESA has mainly relied on wire-wound temperature sensors. They feature a thin platinum wire that is wound around a ceramic plate until it reaches the desired resistance. However, these sensors were often unable to withstand the heavy vibrations and enormous temperature fluctuations in space.

The ESA therefore began searching for a sturdy alternative and found it in the thin-film technology of Innovative Sensor Technology IST AG. The temperature sensors can deal with the harsh conditions in space easily as the platinum structure that makes up the resistor is firmly connected to the sensor’s ceramic surface.  

In order to meet the high requirements of the ESA, the sensor specialist adapted and developed a product series. Tests have shown that the sensors continue to provide stable measurement results at 70,000 measurement cycles of minus 200 to plus 200 degrees Celsius.

They are also built in a compact and lightweight manner without moveable parts. One of the next missions the sensors will be used in is the Euclid space telescope. The ESA wants to use the telescope for six years from 2022 onwards to research dark matter and dark energy in space.   

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