Internal view of the IABG magnetic field simulation facility in Ottobrunn, Germany. In June, the Solar Orbiter spacecraft underwent testing in the chamber above the wooden platform visible in this view to validate its magnetic properties.
This facility is located just outside the IABG 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.
Solar Orbiter is an ESA-led mission with strong NASA participation. The prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space in Stevenage, UK.