Challenge: The Australian National University’s Research School of Astronomy and Physics needed a test facility to support both thermal vacuum and plasma thruster testing for several high-profile programs including the Giant Magellan Telescope, Australian Plasma Thruster and Australian CubeSats. Instead of commissioning individual systems to support these programs, they desired a single system that incorporated dual capability and design flexibility for future programs.

Success: In 2012, ANU chose Dynavac as their supplier to develop and commission the multi-purpose system. Named S2F, the 10ft diameter x 12ft long system is equipped with a shroud and platen that accommodates test articles with volumes up to 1.5 m x 1.5 m x 1.5 m. Dynavac gaseous nitrogen thermal conditioning units provide two zones of thermal control over an operating range of -180C to 150C. For plasma thruster testing, the shroud and platen are removed and a Plume Capture System is installed in the rear chamber annulus. Dynavac fully assembled the system in its Hingham, MA facility and transported it by ocean vessel to Australia where it was commissioned by a Dynavac installation team.

The S2F Thermal Vacuum Test System is the cornerstone of a new national facility at the University’s Advanced Instrumentation Technology Centre for the assembly, integration and testing of space instrumentation and hardware. It is the first of its kind in Australia and is currently the largest thermal vacuum system in the entire Asia-Pacific region. Contact us to learn more about the S2F project. You can also download the project whitepaper or presentation for the 2014 Space Simulation Conference and view a timelapse video of its construction.

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