FEES with the fixture and POD upon the shaker.
Finally, this combination of units has been placed on the facility's shaker, which has been instructed to reproduce the launcher vibrations in terms of frequencies and time in the 3-axis. To better monitor the conditions and assess the fidelity of the tests, accelerometers have been put on each object, that is FEES, the POD and the steel fixture.
FEES has been placed inside the facility's thermal-vacuum chamber for a cycling test, which consists on a number of cycles between extreme temperatures, typically from hot to cold. To make sure the satellite will be able to correctly function in orbit, the plateau temperature times have been doubled with respect to the orbit estimation. First, the air is removed so all the heat is handled through radiation, and then the rate begins according to the designated input.
FEES inside the thermal-vacuum chamber.
In addition, FEES has been switched on and off in real time, according to the schedule requirements, by means of an electronic board and the data stream has been saved: this includes different kinds of information regarding electronics and sensors.
Finally, FEES has been weighted and its mass compared to the initial one: this is done due to the necessity of obtaining the Total Mass Loss (TML), that is the mass which the materials "lose" due to the outgassing.
Upon first inspection, it is evident that FEES has shown positive results for both tests: while it takes time to extract and analyze the detailed test results, it is easily understood that the Qualification Test Campaign has been passed.
There has been no physical damage to any part of the model, and the most critical components, for what concerns vibration and mechanical loads (e.g. iridium module, antennas and switches), have shown no stability issue. Regarding the thermal-vacuum, FEES has demostrated its capability to survive and work at the extreme temperatures (which respectively represent direct sunlight and eclipse) and during the transition phases. Moreover, the TML is undeniably within the acceptable value of 1%.
The firmware has been working flawlessly during all the designated operative simulations of both tests.
Since the qualification model has been assessed to be reliable during the tests, the flight model will be almost identical and will face another test campaign at acceptance level (that is, with lower mechanical and thermal loads compared to qualification).
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