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Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) - The Cryocooler

Meet the Cryocooler—Part of the LDCM Thermal Infrared Sensor

The Cryocooler is like a big refrigerator, except that it cools to cryogenic temperatures (below −150 °C, −238 °F or 123 K). It is responsible for cooling our detectors to 43K (-382F). This is very cold and the temperature at which we must maintain our detectors in order to get optimal thermal data. It was built by Ball Aerospace in Boulder, CO and will be the first of its kind to fly. It is a very complicated mechanical system that uses a compressor and displacer to provide its cooling.