Operations and performance of the PACS instrument 3He sorption cooler on board of the Herschel space observatory

M. Sauvage, K. Okumura, U. Klaas, Th Müller, A. Moór, A. Poglitsch, H. Feuchtgruber, L. Duband

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2 Citations (Scopus)


A 3He sorption cooler produced the operational temperature of 285 mK for the bolometer arrays of the Photodetector Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) instrument of the Herschel Space Observatory. This cooler provided a stable hold time between 60 and 73 h, depending on the operational conditions of the instrument. The respective hold time could be determined by a simple functional relation established early on in the mission and reliably applied by the scientific mission planning for the entire mission. After exhaustion of the liquid 3He due to the heat input by the detector arrays, the cooler was recycled for the next operational period following a well established automatic procedure. We give an overview of the cooler operations and performance over the entire mission and distinguishing in-betweenthe start conditions for the cooler recycling and the two main modes of PACS photometer operations. As a spin-off, the cooler recycling temperature effects on the Herschel cryostat 4He bath were utilized as an alternative method to dedicated Direct Liquid Helium Content Measurements in determining the lifetime of the liquid Helium coolant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-431
Number of pages35
JournalExperimental Astronomy
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014



  • Calibration
  • Herschel
  • Instrumentation: Photometers
  • PACS
  • Sorption coolers
  • Space cryogenics
  • Space vehicles: instrumentation
  • Telescopes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Sauvage, M., Okumura, K., Klaas, U., Müller, T., Moór, A., Poglitsch, A., Feuchtgruber, H., & Duband, L. (2014). Operations and performance of the PACS instrument 3He sorption cooler on board of the Herschel space observatory. Experimental Astronomy, 37(2), 397-431. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10686-014-9388-z