The Solar Orbiter spacecraft in the IABG magnetic field simulation facility in Ottobrunn, Germany. The facility is located just outside the premises in a nearby forest to avoid interference with human-generated magnetic fields, consists completely of non-magnetic materials like wood, and contains twelve 15-m coils – nearly as large as the building – to create a homogeneous magnetic environment that compensates Earth’s own magnetic field, simulating outer space conditions.
Tests performed here in June verified the magnetic behaviour of the unpowered spacecraft, to make sure the magnetic field of Solar Orbiter is low enough so that the Magnetometer (MAG) instrument can operate at its most sensitive range.
Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK.