5 Ways Vacuum Contributes To Space Simulation & Research
November 17, 2020
Satellites are extremely valuable and incredibly difficult to replace. As repairs in space are near-impossible, intensive mandatory testing is done on Earth before launch. One of the most important tests to simulate is how the satellite functions in a vacuum.
For example, satellites in geostationary orbit (‘GEO’, 35,800km height) deal with vacuum pressures in the low ultra-high vacuum range. These pressures have to be simulated through testing, and these tests are often done in conjunction with temperature cycle tests (thermal vacuum changer tests). What’s more, each component is also tested individually before integration into the system, which requires test chambers with 1–1000 m3 volumes.
For research and technology development like fuel tanks, fuel valves and devices for spacecraft, more accurate compensations of gravity are required than what parabolic flights in airplanes can provide. Vacuum technology makes the drop towers (or drop tubes) that achieve these zero gravity states possible.