Beginning of first HXI refrigeration performance tests

The HXI is designed to operate at temperatures of -20 degrees (centigrade) while on orbit. This is right around the temperature of a household freezer. One might therefore think that the HXI tests can be conducted using such a freezer. But this is not possible! For one reason, in a normal household freezer frost would develop on the HXI. For another, the HXI is too large! Instead, a large tank-like box has been constructed. Inside, the temperature
is maintained at a constant level.
This is a picture of this ‘tank’. While it might look as though it is a large, “prefab” room, it has a refrigeration system designed to be able to maintain the temperature inside at -20 degrees. The second picture gives a peek into this room, just as the person in the white suit in the image peeks inside. The HXI is the object resting on the large red cart. Beginning from today, the HXI will spend one week in an environment where the temperature is fixed at -20 degrees so that we can check its performance and see if
it meets the designed-for requirements. This marks the beginning of testing
of the HXI under the same (freezing) conditions it must operate under while
on orbit. Everyone is nervous to learn whether or not it performs as designed!

Back to top