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Satellite Qualification and Vibration Testing

Satellite Qualification and Vibration Testing

Satellites used in communications and military applications are complex and costly systems. They are subjected to extensive product qualification tests and stress screening tests to ensure survivability during launch, deployment and long term operation.

Due to the high cost, satellite vibration qualification tests are among the most monitored and carefully run tests in the world. Vibration tests are often run with hundreds of channels of simultaneous acquisition in the vibration controller. Multishaker tests are often run on extremely large payloads or for multiple degree of freedom simulation. Whether the application is large channel count vibration control or multi-shaker control, SignalStar Matrix Vibration Controllers are specifically designed for these demanding applications.

Swept sine testing is a critical component of satellite qualification. Since tests are run on actual flight hardware, prevention of over testing is of critical importance, as is the ability to apply limit channels to an unlimited channel count. Limit channels are used to assign maximum allowable vibration levels at specific locations of the test article. If these levels are reached, the drive signals are limited to reduce the test level. Force limiting can also be used to prevent over testing. In force limiting, load cells are used at the interface between the shaker table and the satellite. Analytical models are typically used to derive the force limit profiles and these profiles are assigned to the load cell channels. New features in SignalStar Vibration Controllers allow users to do the transformative force summing in the software without the use of external hardware.

In situations that vibration controllers do not have the channel count required for a specific test or that an independent analysis system is required, a specialized dynamic signal analyzer is used. Data Physics offers industry leading software for high channel count acquisition during shaker vibration testing. The SignalCalc Analyzer Sine Reduction software allows the simultaneous measurement of hundreds of channels of sine data and can be used to do additional monitoring. Whether it is random testing or sine data reduction, SignalCalc Dynamic Signal Analyzers offer environmental testing solutions to meet this need.

Recording of data is also a critical component of satellite testing. The Data Physics SignalStar controllers offer the option for simultaneous recording of time history data from all channels during vibration testing, and the SignalCalc analyzers also offer recording to disk.

Many satellite tests need to be performed in clean room environments and are often performed to high frequencies. Water cooled electrodynamic shakers are the ideal choice for most satellite tests because they meet class 100 000 cleanliness requirements. One or multiple shakers can be used to perform accurate, clean, repeatable tests.

Advances in multi shaker control technology have simplified the operation of a dual shaker arrangement to test a single test article. An essential component of the dual shaker test system is the ability to share the forces applied to the test article. The two shakers positioned side by side drive the head expander or the slip table in tandem controlled by two drive signals provided by a multi shaker control system.

Data Physics systems are trusted by Satellite manufacturers around the globe. Learn more about SignalForce Electrodynamic Shaker Systems for vibration testing.

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