New Space Simulation Facility arrives at the AITC, Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics
After nearly a year of construction at our Dynavac’s facility in Hingham MA, USA, the Thermal Vacuum System for The Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics arrived safely and was assembled and commissioned in their AITC Integration Hall.
This chamber simulates the vacuum and thermal conditions of space (-170oC to +150oC) and makes it possible to measure the performance of space-based instruments and small satellites under space conditions. The facility will also be used to test and evaluate the Australian instruments currently being developed for the Giant Magellan Telescope.
This is the first time Australia has had such a facility and is an important new capability to support the development of precision instrumentation for astronomy and Australia’s participation in the global space industry.
The chamber was designed for maximum flexibility to service the diverse needs of Australian industry and research. The chamber can be operated in two configurations:
- With the plume capture and mass balance for thruster testing;
- Without the extra shrouds for satellite and instrumentation testing.
The Australian Plasma Thruster, developed at ANU, will be the first item tested in the chamber. The three Australian CubeSats, which will be launched as part of the European QB50 mission, will also be tested in the facility.