Illinois Tiny Satellite Initiative

University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign
 Environmental Testing

Vibration Testing

Vibration testing is another vital part of the pre-launch testing. Ideally, every part would be tested separately and then the entire assembly would be tested a final time. For our vibration tests, we used Engineered Testing Services, LLC, located in Indianapolis, Indiana to help with the process. The satellite was placed within it's launch container, P-Pod, and vibrated it to the frequency and magnitudes posted on the Cal-Poly CubeSat website. The vibration testing went very well, and we were pleased to hear that no damage was accrued due to the tests.


Thermal-Vacuum Testing

Thermal-vacuum testing is necessary prior to delivery of the final product. It is imperative that the entire system be thermally proven in order to verify the spacecraft's robustness. Testing will also allow for changes in the thermal design due to deviations from the theoretical model.  Once each component was tested individually, then subsystems were tested, and then finally, the entire spacecraft. 

While in the vacuum of space, the satellite will be exposed to the extreme cold of space and the extreme heat of the sun.  To simulate these experiences, a vacuum is created inside the environmental chamber and the temperature of the satellite is cooled or heated.  For cooling, liquid nitrogen is poured into the coolant loop that is present in the chamber, dropping the satellite temperature to below freezing temperatures.  For heating, a heat lamp is placed inside the chamber and shone onto the satellite to increase it's temperature to near boiling temperatures.


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