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Thermal Vacuum Testing

The Materials Testing Laboratory at KSC provides a range of physical testing, including thermal vacuum and environmental chamber testing.  These chambers are typically used for: the development, engineering evaluation and qualification testing of spacecraft components, subassemblies and experiments; preflight thermal-vacuum conditioning of flight hardware; and development and calibration of instruments for use in flight.

 

Capabilities/Services

Thermal-vacuum equipment is available to simulate a range of temperature, vacuum and humidity conditions for testing flight hardware under space and lower-altitude conditions, including:

  • Altitude chambers
    • Medium altitude chamber for testing materials and instruments in a near space environment
      • Variable temperature: -72 to 177 degree C (-100 to 350 degrees F)
      • Variable Pressure: ambient to 1 Torr (1mm Hg)
      • Testing area: 4 feet (1.22m) X 4 feet (1.22m) X 5 feet (1.52m)
      • Feed-through diameter: 7 inches
    • Small altitude chamber for testing materials and instruments in a near space environment
      • Variable temperature: -45 to 177 degrees C (-49 to 350 F)
      • Variable Pressure: Ambient to 1 Torr (1mm Hg)
      • Testing Area: 2 feet (0.61 m) X 2 feet (0.61 m) X 2 feet (0.61m)
      • Feed-through: 2.75 inch diameter
  • Vacuum chambers
    • Turbo Pump high vacuum chamber for testing materials in simulated space environments with variable temperature down to ~100 degrees
      • Variable Pressure down to ~ 1x10-6 Torr
      • More specific capabilities available upon request
    • Cryo Pump thermal high vacuum chamber for testing materials in simulated space environments
      • Variable temperature from ~300 to + 400 F
      • Variable Pressure: ambient to ~ 1 x 10-7 Torr
      • More specific capabilities available upon request
  • Walk-in environmental chamber for testing materials and biological specimens in a variety of temperature/humidity conditions
    • Variable Temperature: -34 to 85 degrees C (-30 to 185 degrees F)
    • Variable Humidity: 5% to 95% RH
    • Testing area: 8 feet (2.43m) X 8 feet (2.43m) X 8 feet (2.43m)
    • Feed-through diameter: 7 inches

 

 Accomplishments:

  • Performed thermal cycling for the Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) Study. These canisters are used to house scientific experiments during transport to and operation at the International Space Station
  • Performed thermal vacuum testing on an Integrated Standard Imager for Microsatellites (I-SIM) for the University of Florida.  I-SIM’s primary goal is the study of dark energy and dark matter as part of the Dark UNiverse Explorer mission. This was a pathfinder test for small satellites to help establish the processes and procedures necessary to perform similar tests on future CubeSat/MicroSat missions.  Thermal vacuum testing was performed to check the correct behavior of the binocular camera optics and focal plane sensor at ambient temperature 25 ˚C, -20 ˚C, and 60˚C.
  • Studied personal protective suit cooling vest performance in the walk-in environmental test chamber, which involved a human subject testing the suit while using a treadmill.

 

 

Ready to Launch?

Ready to explore a partnership, or simply need more information?  Please submit your inquiry to our KSC Facilitator.

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