A New X-IFU has arrived!
From 29 November to 1st December, 186 women and men gathered online for the 15th X-IFU Consortium Meeting.
The Consortium meeting was focused on the reformulation activities of X-IFU. Those activities aim at simplifying the instrument, so that those simplifications will enable a significant reduction of the mission cost to ESA. ESA, NASA and JAXA views on the reformulation were presented, all showing their commitment to Athena.
The main simplification of X-IFU arises from the use of passive cooling, providing a 50 K interface to the instrument. The so-called 50 K cryostat solution, the revised cooling chain, and the sub-systems impacted by the reformulation, the verification and procurement approaches were the subject of extensive presentations.
As usual, the X-IFU consortium meeting gave the floor to Massimo Cappi (XSAT Chair) and François Pajot (XCAT Chair) to provide their views on the reformulation. Similarly, Arne Rau, WFI project scientist, gave a thorough summary of WFI reformulation activities. We were introduced by Ralph Kraft to the exciting science of the Line Emission Mapper mission concept, to be proposed as an X-ray probe to NASA. Silvano Molendi gave an illuminating presentation on galaxy cluster science, emphasizing on the advances enabled by X-IFU. Michael Wise, SRON Director General, gave his optimistic views on the road to Athena.
The presentation of the first results of the life-cycle assessment of X-IFU by Xavier Loizillon (Scalian) attracted much attention as it provided the first glimpse of the environmental impact of developing the X-IFU. This will enable clear recommendations to be formulated to reduce as much as possible the footprint of X-IFU.
Lionel Duband presented to the Consortium members our movie on the X-IFU cryogenic chain (see below), as elaborated during the preliminary definition phase. Changes on the design have been made but the new cryogenic chain will still follow the same principles presented in the video.
Overall, this was a really exciting Consortium meeting, showing the path to the new X-IFU, and the breadth of the work done by the X-IFU team, since the end of the summer break.