Cutting edge acoustic testing demonstration
18 May 2018
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Representatives from the European space community were invited to Harwell this week to hear about the latest progress towards the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF), which will begin construction later this year.

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Speakers used in the Direct Field Acoustic Test at RAL

​​​Speakers used in the Direct Field Acoustic Test at RAL

STFC RAL Space

​The community were invited for a demonstration of Direct Field Acoustic Test (DFAT*), a method of subjecting satellites to the acoustic vibration they will encounter during their launch. It uses a system that comprises a large array of purpose-built loudspeakers and specialised real time control.


MSI DFAT Services of Baltimore, Maryland in the US demonstrated their DFAT capability at RAL Space, using a full-scale DFAT system and an SSTL spacecraft structure. DFAT equipment is portable and can be flexibly configured, unlike a conventional reverberant field acoustic testing (RFAT). This is a relatively novel method of acoustic test for satellites in Europe.  

This event was an opportunity ​for space organisations to see this technology in action and to take part in the discussions RAL Space is conducting with future users of the NSTF.

RAL Space was awarded £99 million from the Government's Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund to develop the NSTF following a UK Space Agency study into space facilities available in the UK. The study highlighted the need for access to a comprehensive set of co-located facilities for environmental testing of space payloads and satellites. The NSTF will provide cutting edge environmental test facilities for space payloads and satellites up to 7000kg to space organisation in the UK and from around the world.

 

*DFAT is a registered mark of MSI DFAT Services, LLC.

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