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National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Astrophysics Science Division | Sciences and Exploration

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ARCADE Schematic

Instrument schematic

ARCADE consists of a set of 7 cryogenic radiometers maintained at a temperature near 2.7 K in an open liquid helium bucket dewar. The signal to each first-stage amplifier is switched at 75 Hz between a corrugated conical horn antenna and a precision internal reference load. Each antenna alternately views the sky or a precision blackbody calibrator. The internal load acts as a transfer standard to enable a precise determination of the sky--calibrator temperature difference.

Fountain effect pumps lift superfluid liquid helium from the bottom of the 3500 liter bucket dewar to reservoirs located at the instrument aperture, inside the calibrator target, and on each radiometer. A proportional-integral-differential control loop maintains each component at the desired temperature near 2.7 K. A set of cold flares surrounds the aperture to shield the antennas from emission from warm objects.

Boiloff helium vapor vents under the cold flares to the aperture, forming a barrier between the cold optics and the atmosphere. ARCADE maintains a high boiloff rate (several cubic meters of helium gas per second) throughout the entire flight to prevent the atmosphere from freezing onto the optics. Video footage taken in flight confirms that atmospheric condensation is negligible.