Proceedings of the 28th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites
A versatile test facility has been designed and built to study space environments effects on small satellites and system components. Testing for potentially environmental-induced modifications of small satellites is critical to avoid possible deleterious or catastrophic effects over the duration of space mission. This is increasingly more important as small satellite programs have longer mission lifetimes, expand to more harsh environments (such as polar or geosynchronous orbits), make more diverse and sensitive measurements, minimize shielding to reduce mass, and utilize more compact and sensitive electronics (often including untested off-the-shelf components). The vacuum chamber described here is particularly well suited for cost-effective, long-duration tests of modifications due to exposure to simulated space environment conditions for CubeSats, system components, and small scale materials samples of >10 cm X 10 cm. The facility simulates critical environmental components including the neutral gas atmosphere, the FUV/UV/VIS/NIR solar spectrum, electron plasma fluxes, and temperature. The solar spectrum (~120 nm to 2500 nm) is simulated using an Solar Simulator and Kr resonance lamps at up to four Suns intensity. Low and intermediate electron flood guns and a Sr90 β radiation source provide uniform, stable, electron flux (~20 eV to 2.5 MeV) over the CubeSat surface at >5X intensities of the geosynchronous spectrum. Stable temperatures from 100 K to 450 K are possible. An automated data acquisition system periodically monitors and records the environmental conditions, sample photographs, UV/VIS/NIR reflectivity, IR absorptivity/emissivity, and surface voltage over the CubeSat face and in situ calibration standards during the sample exposure cycle.
JR Dennison, Kent Hartley, Lisa Montierth Phillipps, Justin Dekany, James S. Dyer, and Robert H. Johnson, “Small Satellite Space Environments Effects Test Facility,” Proceedings of the 28th Annual AIAA/USU Conference on Small Satellites, (Logan, UT, August 2-7, 2014).