Surveying the microwave sky, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Planck satellite recently obtained its very first images of galaxy clusters, having had a helping hand from ROTAREX during the satellite’s infancy.

September 2010 saw the ESA announce that Planck had obtained its first images of galaxy clusters, amongst the largest objects in the Universe, by means of the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich effect – a characteristic signature they imprint on the Cosmic Microwave Background.

Planck is situated in orbit on one of the points of Lagrange, an orbital configuration in space, at a distance of 1.5 million kilometers from the Earth. The ESA’s Planck mission maps the sky in nine frequencies using two state-of-the-art instruments, designed to produce high-sensitivity, multi-frequency measurements of the diffuse sky radiation.

The first Planck all-sky survey began in mid-August 2009 and was completed in June 2010. Planck will continue to gather data until the end of 2011, during which time it will complete more than four all-sky scans.

For its part, ROTAREX built cryogenic Galvanic Insulators for the Planck satellite when the project was in its comparative infancy.

The mission consists in completing the mapping (cartography) of the bottom of cosmological brilliance (radiation) of the Universe in 2.7°K, which is the fossil rest of ‘Big Bang’ according to the ‘Standard Model’. The satellite has a ‘bolometer’, and cools in 100m°K to be able to ‘read’ lower or more equal temperatures in 2.7°K.

This refrigeration is made by means of a refrigerator for dilution He3/He4. The global reserve embarked for this mission is 90.000 n.l in 300 bar. with the refrigeration made in four stages. The transmission of the information sent to the Earth generates electromagnetic interferences and potentially risks perturbing the measurements of the bolometer.

Therefore, the electronic elements, as well as the compressors, are situated in a Faraday cage, the last floor of refrigeration, with dilution in 100m°K. To ensure the galvanic insulation of the circuit of refrigeration, the ROTAREX group supplied cryogenic insulating junctions ready for the project’s launch.

Started in 1922 as CEODEUX in Luxembourg, ROTAREX is now a worldwide group of companies and considers itself the market leader in gas valves, regulators and fittings for LPG and CNG, fire extinguishers, semiconductors, medical and industrial applications.