This video shows the Solar Orbiter spacecraft during tests conducted in December 2018 in the thermal-vacuum chamber at the IABG facility in Ottobrunn, Germany. Powerful lamps simulate the Sun's radiation to demonstrate that the spacecraft can sustain the extreme temperatures it will encounter in the Sun's vicinity.
Filmed with an infrared camera, this sped-up video shows the rotation of the spacecraft, slowly revealing the Sun-facing panel of the spacecraft, covered with a heat shield to protect the entire platform from direct solar radiation. Sliding doors on the heat shield, visible in the upper part of the Sun-facing panel in this view, cover the feed-throughs of most of the remote-sensing instruments.
The colouring indicates the temperatures of the spacecraft surface, corresponding to the range indicated in the colour bar on the right-hand side. During this thermal-vacuum test on the spacecraft, the solar beam was used at its maximum flux of about 1800 W/m², reaching temperatures up to 107.6 °C. An additional thermal-vacuum test was conducted on the heat shield that protects the entire platform from direct solar radiation: during this test, which used infrared plates to simulate the Sun's heat, the heat shield reached higher temperatures, up to 520 °C, similar to what it will experience during operations.