Fusion to space

Ptolemy is an instrument on board the Philae lander of Rosetta. It consists of a miniature gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer that is designed to determine the composition of the comet. In order to do this, the ice of the comet must be converted into gas and passed through the instruments. The connecting pipework and fittings was designed and manufactured using techniques developed as part of the fusion energy programme. The knowledge and techniques developed in the ‘Special Techniques’ group at Culham Centre for Fusion Energy working on fusion allowed the many different materials to be connected via advanced brazing. Also, there is a very large variation in temperatures throughout the mission that need to be tolerated which utilizes the vast know-how from the fusion community.