What is Space Simulation Testing?

Space Simulation Testing replicates the high altitudes and temperatures for items that are used in outer space, satellites, or rockets.  Products that will be used in space or high altitudes must be able to endure combined environments of extreme temperatures and extreme low pressures. 

Space is defined as an altitude more than 100 km (62 miles or 328,000 feet) above sea level.  The pressure at this altitude is roughly 2.4 x 10-04 to 4 x 10-04 mbar (1.8 x 10-04 to 3 x 10-04 torr) [1].  Temperatures can be as cold as -80 °C.  This is a very difficult environment for anything to survive.  That is why Space Simulation Testing is essential! 

Space simulation testing is performed in a specialized Thermal Vacuum Chamber or TVAC.  TVACs are very specialized chambers that have a two-stage vacuum pumping system and a thermal plate.  The vacuum pumping system typically consists of a roughing pump and a turbo molecular pump.  The vacuum pumping system must be capable of achieving vacuums of 1 x 10-04 torr and below.  The thermal plate should be capable of constant or cyclic temperature control from -80 °C to +100 °C. 

DES’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC)

Why Perform Space Simulation Testing?

Mission-critical equipment and components that are used in satellites or space systems are very expensive.  They can take years to develop and launch.  It is essential that space equipment is thoroughly tested not just to survive these extreme conditions, but it must also operate properly and be reliable. Failure during launch or operation in space is not an option!  It is devastating and extremely costly.  Satellites can cost over 150 million dollars.  In addition, space simulation testing of components in a TVAC can expose issues before they are integrated into larger systems saving time and overall project cost. 

Why Choose DES for Space Simulation Testing?

DES has the experience and accredited lab to perform validation of mission-critical components during Prototyping, Design Verification, and Qualification phases.  DES’s TVAC can achieve high vacuum levels and apply extreme temperatures simultaneously with high vacuums.  DES can also simulate the severe vibrations and pyroshocks that occur during a launch.

Our Space Simulation Equipment Capabilities Are:

  • High vacuum levels down to 10-7 torr (1,000,000 Feet or 200 miles!)
  • Cyclic or constant temperature control from -100°C to +150°C
  • 16 x 16 inch thermal plate
  • Multiple sealed access ports to allow products to be operational and monitored during testing including power, data, and RF lines
  • View window for visual monitoring
  • Digital vacuum pressure recording
  • Multiple thermocouples for recording thermal plate & product temperatures
  • [1] AFGL Atmospheric Constituent Profiles (0-120km)
Test Performed in DES’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC)

Please contact us or call 610.253.6637 to discuss your project with an expert.

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