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Northrop Grumman-Built Cryocooler Operational On Ibuki

The Ibuki cryocooler is the second Northrop Grumman-built cryocooler to enable a sensor on a Japanese satellite.
by Staff Writers
Redondo Beach CA (SPX) Mar 31, 2009
A high-reliability heritage flight cryocooler built by Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) is now operational, following its launch aboard Japan's Ibuki, also known as the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite, earlier in February. Ibuki will monitor global warming.

Northrop Grumman's cryocooler completed turn-on procedures and cooled the infrared focal planes of Ibuki's primary sensor to an operating temperature of 65 Kelvin, according to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The cryocooler was built by Northrop Grumman under contract to BAE.

"Carbon dioxide emissions are a major contributor to global warming," said Mark Folkman, director of Sensors and Phenomenology for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems sector. "The Northrop Grumman cryocooler will enable Ibuki to gather data that is critical to understanding how carbon dioxide is affecting the environment."

The High Efficiency Cryocooler (HEC) pulse tube units are designed to keep TANSO-FTS, Ibuki's primary carbon dioxide sensor, at cryogenic temperatures for more than 10 years. The flight assembly consists of a single-stage HEC pulse tube cooler that utilizes high-pressure helium gas, and cryocooler control electronics. The HEC pulse tube cryocoolers are the latest generation of a design first used for space flight in the 1990s.

The Ibuki cryocooler is the second Northrop Grumman-built cryocooler to enable a sensor on a Japanese satellite.

The Japanese Advanced Meteorological Imager (JAMI), on orbit since 2005 on the Multi-functional Transport Satellite (MTSAT), features a pair of Northrop Grumman pulse tube cryocoolers. JAMI provides high quality multispectral imagery for weather forecasters in Japan, East Asia and Australia.

A world leader in long life, high-reliability cryocoolers for space applications, Northrop Grumman continues to enable groundbreaking science missions, allowing a variety of advanced sensors to gather clearer, more accurate data.

Since 1998, 13 of the 14 U.S. manufactured long-life pulse tube or Stirling cryocoolers in space have been Northrop Grumman-built and none have failed or changed performance in orbit.

The oldest two, originally designed for a one-year mission, have been operational for more than ten years.

The company is continuing cryocooler development for space-based sensors, including the Mid-Infrared Instrument cooler on the James Webb Space Telescope as well as additional enhancements to achieve operating temperatures of 2K and below to further improve sensor performance.

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