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About the X-ray Test Facility PANTER

For the characterization and calibration of X-ray telescopes and detectors MPE operates the test facility PANTER. This instrument was originally built between 1977 and 1980 for the characterization of ROSAT and extended due to the experimental requirements in the following years. Nevertheless, during the last decades nearly all astronomical X-ray experiments or parts of them have been tested at this facility.

The test history contends the following X-ray missions:
rocket experiments 1977 - 1987
ROSAT 1977 - 1990
EXOSAT 1980 - 1982
MIR-HEXE 1981
AXAF (Chandra) 1982 - 1996
SAX 1985 - 1994
ROSAT-WFC 1987 - 1990
JET-X 1990 - 1997
SOHO/CDS 1991 - 1994
XMM-Newton 1987 - 1999
ABRIXAS 1995 - 1999
SWIFT-XRT 2000, 2002     Verweis pictures
ASTRO E2 2003     Verweis pictures
areal view of the PANTER test facility

An aerial photograph of the facility is shown in the enclosed figure. At one end of the vacuum system an X-ray source is installed, the other end is given by the test chamber. The test chamber has a diameter of 3.5 m and a length of 12 m to assimilate X-ray telescopes and small satellites. The distance of 130 m between X-ray source and telescope was chosen to approximate the infinite source distance of an astronomical X-ray object. By operation of several manipulators telescope and detectors can be positioned with high precision.
These measurement campaigns include work in international projects and also the MPE participation at the scientific data output of the experiments.

The main task of the PANTER facility is the characterization of X-raytelescopes. This includes the measurement of reflectivity and straylight of plane mirrors and single mirror shells, and the characterization of the image qualities of complete telescopes. Also focal instruments (detectors,gratings, filters) are measured at PANTER. Before launch the flight configuration is calibrated in an end-to-end test. In addition thermal cycling and thermal-vacuum tests for the qualification of satellite parts are performed in two smaller vacuum chambers, too.

The technical work during the last years was characterized by improvements of the facility and technical developments, especially required for the XMM experiments. By the MPE personnel and the MPE-PANTER team (Aschenbach,Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Hartner, Lechner, Oppitz, Predehl, Strüder, Wölfl) the following work has been done:
  • the absolute calibration of detectors
  • the enlargement of the cleanroom
  • the optimization of a X-ray monochromator
  • the development of new software programmes
  • the installation of a new computer network system
  • the installation of new X-ray sources
  • the implementation of a new control and archiving system for the facility
  • the installation of new manipulators based on XMM requirements
  • the installation of a monitor system in front of the mirror systems
  • the installation of a monitor system (drift chamber) near the source
In addition, ESA was supported during the installation of two new X-ray channels at the CSL test facility. The scientific program at the PANTER facility during the last two years was also determined by the XMM experiments. Nevertheless,the measurement of other experiments (ABRIXAS, AXAF, Jet-X) has also been done.

In detail, the following tests have been performed at the PANTER facility in 1996 and 1997:
AXAF thermal balance test Bräuninger, Burkert, Kettenring, Predehl, Wölfl
Jet-X end-to-end test Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Oppitz, Trümper, Wölfl
ABRIXAS mirror calibration Aschenbach, Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Oppitz, Predehl, Trümper, Wölfl
ABRIXAS thermal balance test of QM mirror system Bräuninger, Kettenring, Predehl, Wölfl
EPIC-pn CCD thermal balance test of focal instrumentation Bräuninger, Heuschmann, Reppin,  EPIC team
XMM calibration of mirror systems QM, FM1, FM2 Aschenbach, Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Hartner, Lechner, Oppitz, Strüder, Trümper, Wölfl, ROSAT-PSPC-team
XMM end-to-end tests of QM-mirror + RGS, FM2 mirror + RGS Aschenbach, Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Lechner, Oppitz, Strüder, Trümper, Wölfl, ROSAT-PSPC team
XMM end-to-end tests of QM-mirror + EPIC-MOS CCD Aschenbach, Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Lechner, Oppitz, Strüder, Trümper, Wölfl, ROSAT-PSPC team
XMM end-to-end tests of QM-mirror + EPIC-pn CCD Aschenbach, Bräuninger, Burkert, Döhring, Egger, Elender, Lechner, Oppitz, Strüder, Trümper, Wölfl, ROSAT-PSPC team
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