Hingham, MA. March 21, 2021 – Dynavac announced today a successful milestone review for the engineering of its Titan Thermal Cycle Chamber contracted by Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The chamber will support a NASA-sponsored project to send Dragonfly, a rotorcraft-lander, to Titan, Saturn’s largest moon. The project was awarded to Dynavac July 2020.

Dragonfly is scheduled to launch in 2027 for an arrival in 2034.  The rotorcraft will fly through Titan’s dense atmosphere exploring multiple locations for signs of prebiotic chemical processes.   This ambitious mission will be the first time NASA flies a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet.

In collaboration with its manufacturing partner, Matrix PDM, Dynavac will commission a dual-purpose system that will subject the Dragonfly Spacecraft to a series of rigorous pre-flight pressure and temperature qualification tests to simulate the environment on Titan.

The system will be field-erected at Johns Hopkins’ newly-constructed test facility on the APL campus and will support the Dragonfly program over a five-year period.  Upon completion of the Dragonfly program, the chamber will be reconfigured to conduct standard thermal vacuum testing.

Tom Foley, CEO of Dynavac said “The environment on Titan demands unique chamber performance, operating over a temperature range of -180 to 150°C and pressures from 0.5 to 1 atmosphere.  We designed a custom system with internal forced convection serving as the heat transfer mechanism; a cross-flow circulation system replicates the wind patterns likely encountered on Titan.”

Matrix PDM has the critical role of designing and field erecting the vacuum vessel which stands at 17ft wide by 17ft high by 18ft long and is fully equipped to safely handle the spacecraft in and outside of the vessel.  Dynavac will design and fabricate all the various subsystems and perform final commissioning and test of the system.

Tom Foley commented: “We have a long-history with JHU in supporting mission-critical programs” and described this project as “a novel approach to ensuring successful execution of this very important test. The Dynavac/Matrix team will provide a quality focus on this important project support NASA’s New Frontier program.”

John R. Hewitt, CEO of Matrix Service Company added “We are honored to have been selected for this important project “We have a long-standing history in this field, having designed more than 70 large vacuum chambers for aerospace companies and government research laboratories, including the thermal vacuum chamber recently used to test Perseverance, NASA’s Mars rover.”

Download the full press release here

About Dynavac

Dynavac designs, manufactures, and installs high-vacuum systems for space simulation, thin film deposition, and specialty applications.  The company is recognized for its expertise in high vacuum technology, system and component design, and field support.   Dynavac manufactures its systems in Hingham and Pembroke, MA, and serves customers around the world.

With nearly forty years in the aerospace industry, Dynavac proudly supports customers engaged in some of the most demanding and exciting and demanding space programs.  Visit dynavac.com/solutions/space-simulation/ to learn more.

About Matrix Service Company

Matrix Service Company (Nasdaq: MTRX), through its subsidiaries, is a leading North American industrial engineering and construction contractor headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma with offices located throughout the United States and Canada, as well as Sydney, Australia and Seoul, South Korea.

The Company reports its financial results in three key operating segments: Utility and Power Infrastructure, Process and Industrial Facilities, and Storage and Terminal Solutions.

With a focus on sustainability, building strong Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) practices, and living our core values, Matrix ranks among the Top 100 Contractors by Engineering-News Record, was recognized for its Board diversification by 2020 Women on Boards, is an active signatory to CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, and is consistently recognized as a Great Place to Work®. To learn more about Matrix Service Company, visit matrixservicecompany.com


Image credit: NASA