Solar orbiter – Building an Instrument to Study the Sun - Chris Brockley-Blatt

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Solar Orbiter will address big questions in Solar System science to help us understand how our star creates and controls the giant bubble of plasma that surrounds the whole Solar System and influences the planets within it.
Launched in February 2020, Solar Orbiter carries six remote sensing instruments, or telescopes, that image the Sun and its surroundings, and four in-situ instruments that measure properties of the environment around the spacecraft. By comparing the data from both sets of instruments, scientists will gain insights into the generation of the solar wind, the stream of charged particles from the Sun that influences the entire Solar System.
For the past 13 years, Chris has been the Project Manager of one of the in-situ instruments board, the Solar Wind Analyser (SWA). Made up of three sensors and an onboard data processing unit, the SWA will measure the ion and electron bulk properties (including, density, velocity, and temperature) of the solar wind, thereby characterising the solar wind between 0.28 and 1.4 AU from the Sun.
In this presentation, Chris will outline the science behind Solar Orbiter, describe more of the mission and the spacecraft, present the SWA and describe the engineering behind building a space science instrument.
After leaving School, Chris took a year out to work as a Student Apprentice with Dowty Aerospace, who sponsored her through university. Upon leaving university with a BEng in Mechanical Engineering, Chris worked for Ricardo Consulting Engineers, as a design analyst and thermal engineer. After 6 years there, she made the move to Mullard Space Science Laboratory as a Mechanical and Thermal Design Engineer and Project Manager, where she continues to work. She was chartered in 1998 and became a Fellow in 2009.

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