STIX Instrument On-board Software (PRODEX)

July 12, 2017

We are very happy to report that the STIX handover procedure has been concluded, and STIX has been delivered to AIRBUS on July 12. Depending on the progress on AIRBUS side, STIX will be mounted on the spacecraft panel in early August.

esc Aerospace is glad to have contributed to this project with:

• Engineering support during project phases B & C/D
• StartUp SW – Mission critical SW (stored in PROM)
• Application SW (stored in FLASH memory)

STIX, the Spectrometer Telescope for Imaging X-rays has two main scientific objectives. First is to determine the magnetic connection of the Solar Orbitar spacecraft back to the Sun.  Second is to understand the acceleration of electrons at the Sun during solar eruptions and their transport into interplanetary space. STIX will determine the intensity, spectrum, timing, and location of accelerated electrons near the Sun by using its remote-sensing X-ray measurements. It will also determine spectra of high temperature thermal plasmas, mostly associated with flares and/or micro flares. STIX will cover the energy range between 4 keV and 150 keV with an energy dependent resolution of 1 keV to 15 keV. Its finest angular resolution and temporal resolution are 7 arcsec and 0.1 seconds, respectively.

The imager, windows in the heat shield, consists of 32 pairs of X-ray opacque tungsten grids mounted in front of 32 solid-state Cadmium Telluride X-ray detectors which are located on the electronics box and make up the spectrometer. X-ray radiation passes through the windows in the heat shield, it is subsequently filtered by the imager unit and finally detected by the detector box – in order to obtain images of the hottest regions of solar eruptions with temperatures of up to 40 million degrees Celsius. Both, imager and decector electronics box are mounted independently on the spacecraft.

Scientists believe that data provided by STIX can lead to answering some of the Sun´s yet unanswered questions.