The National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) is a new facility in the United Kingdom for the environmental testing of complete satellites and large sub-assemblies. To be operated by RAL Space in Oxfordshire, the new facility is set to be completed by Spring 2021 and will contain the UK’s largest single combined facilities for Vibration, EMC / Antenna Range, Acoustic, Mass Property and Thermal testing.
The facility is primarily aimed at testing satellite hardware with payloads up to 7 tonnes and the combined facilities able to fully replicate the conditions and severity of all launch conditions. A pyro-shock test facility is also provided to simulate separation of the satellite from the launch vehicle adapter.
Dynamic Test Data Acquisition Systems
A key component of the test facilities is a high-speed multi-channel Dynamic Test Data Acquisition System. After an international competitive tender involving several specialist companies, a 512 channel Prosig system was selected by NTSF. The system comprises 2 x 256 channel sub-systems with four DATS-hyper12 chassis each, allowing two separate racks to be deployed on in different locations if required. The 24-bit acquisition channels accept Accelerometers, Microphone and Voltage parameters with both IEP and TEDS support.
The DATS-hyper12 is a rack-mount chassis which can be populated with a number of data acquisition and signal conditioning modules. Each rack is stand-alone with its own controller and data storage which provides an overall acquisition and storage rate in excess of 100kHz. Multiple units can be connected and synchronised together to a common clock signal, acting as a single, high channel-count system. The hyper12 at NTSF will provide the acquired data in a number of industry-standard file formats to allow easy export for post-processing by specialist third-party analysis and simulation packages used by different customers.
The hyper12 design philosophy provides for a highly flexible and modular system to suit a wide range of complex testing scenarios to meet the needs of the satellite industry.
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