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Working group 'Planetary physics':

  Planetary and Space Simulation Chamber  


The Planetary and Space Simulation Chamber at the Institute of Space Simulation
at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Köln, Germany.

Planetary and Space Simulation Chamber

Scientific statements about structure, conditions and processes on different heavenly bodies (e.g. surfaces of planets and comets) can be made here on Earth - may be in preparation or even substitution of a space mission - by using a simulation facility.

Additionally, the simulation of the environmental conditions of space (which are: vacuum or variable atmospheric gases, coldness and solar radiation) in a simulation facility provides a cost saving opportunity for testing devices or components intended for space applications under real conditions.

Construction principle

The new simulation chamber of the German Aerospace Center DLR consists of an outer container which can be evacuated. This isolates thermically the inner cold compartment, which can be cooled with pulsed liquid nitrogen. The inner compartment can additionally be closed which leads, in spite of the isolating vacuum, to two different operation modes:
  • Planetary simulation: Variable gaseous atmospheres, e.g. Mars: 7 mbar CO2,

  • Space simulation: Vacuum.

The inner cold compartment is made of copper and divided into three segments: floor, wall, and ceiling (removable cover). Each segment can individually be brought to its own temperature which is between -196oC and room temperature.

The simulation facility is operated and controlled from a PC-based control panel.

Technical description

Inner size Diameter 1.40 m
Height 1.80 m
Temperature min. -196oC
max. room temp.
Pressure min. 1 mPa (10-8 bar)
max. 100 kPa (1 bar)
Solar simulation
Xenon high pressure tubes with
~1 Solar Const. (1.4 kW/m2)
Access Removable cover
app. 10 Flanges for windows,
cable feeds, etc.
Camera system available
Manipulator planned

Chamber inside

The open simulation chamber. We see here
the cold shroud and the cold floor made of copper.
Test of a drill

View through a window: Testing of a drill device
built for a planetary mission.


Dipl.-Phys. Hermann Kochan
DLR, Institute of Space Simulation
51170 Köln
Tel: +49-2203-601-2667
Fax: +49-2203-601-2352

[ Deutsch | Planetary physics | Construction | Applications]

12/08/98, Michael Kretschmer, DLR - Institut für Raumsimulation , D-51170 Köln