The Institut d’Astrophysics Spatiale has a fully-equipped calibration station at its disposal. This national facility is available for use by the scientific community, it provides equipment and installations dedicated to the testing and calibration of equipment destined for space, including scientific instruments and space hardware.
Among the many phases that are required to bring a space mission to fruition, calibration is the last operation before an instrument is delivered to a space agency (ESA, NASA ...) for integration into a satellite.
The main aims of the calibration station are to validate instrumentation and hardware, and their operability, under conditions similar to that that they will meet in space (e.g., vacuum, low temperature) by subjecting them to well-characterized irradiation, with both wavelength and intensity adapted to the area of operation, and ensuring good reception of the recorded and transmitted signal data (simulating the types of observations that the instrumentation will have to perform in space). The relationship between the input luminosity/flux and the recorded signal is a key part of the calibration process.
The working knowledge of the instrument is complemented by measurements performed under varying environmental conditions, such as temperature, wavelength, intensity and angle of incidence of the incident beam. These measurements test the correct functioning of the instrumentation under automatic operations and through the various sequences of operations that the instrument is intended to perform once in space.