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Satellites are typically designed to perform functions such as communication, navigation, weather monitoring, scientific research, Earth observation, and military surveillance. Examples include the NASA Lunar Explorer and the Raytheon TacSat 3.

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Physical Properties Systems

Mass properties testing is conducted on a wide range of products and components on a space satellite to ensure accurate measurement of mass, center of gravity, and moments of inertia. This information is vital for proper integration, performance optimization, and safe operation of the satellite.

  • Main structure of a satellite: body, framework, support systems
  • Various payloads: communication systems, Earth observation instruments, scientific experiments
  • Communication Antennas: parabolic reflectors
  • Solar arrays: generate power for the satellite
  • Reaction wheels and control moment gyros
  • Thermal Control Systems: radiators, heat pipes, insulation materials
  • Computers, Sensors, and other Electronics Components
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Pressure and Temperature Systems

Space satellites require pressure, temperature, torque, and force instruments for measurement and monitoring. These instruments are crucial for ensuring the proper operation, performance, and safety of the satellite throughout its mission in space. Satellite products requiring these instruments include:

  •  Propulsion Systems: monopropellant or bipropellant thrusters
  • Torque applied by reaction wheels and control moment gyros
  • Forces acting on the solar arrays
  • Monitor the pressure levels in antenna systems, such as for inflatable or deployable antennas
  • Various Components: deployable booms, antennas, solar array panels
  • Temperature distribution within the satellite’s thermal control systems
  • Satellite Payloads: scientific instruments, communication systems
  • Structural Integrity and Performance: measuring strain, stress, and deformation during launch, in-orbit operations, and environmental variations
  • Power Systems to monitor the temperature of batteries and power distribution units

Instrument Cleaning and Contamination Prevention

In a satellite system, various instruments and components may require cleaning and contamination prevention measures to ensure proper functioning and longevity. Some of the key products and components that may require such maintenance include:

  • Optical Instruments: telescopes, cameras, spectrometers degrade their performance. Regular cleaning and contamination prevention measures are essential to maintain their accuracy and sensitivity.
  • Solar Panels: solar panels are critical for providing power to the satellite
  • Thermal Control Systems: radiators and thermal insulation materials
  • Communication Equipment: antennas and transmitters/receivers used for communication
  • Propulsion Systems: thrusters, valves, other propulsion components
  • Reaction Wheels and Gyroscopes: attitude control components
  • Instrument Apertures and Filters: radiometers or particle detectors
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Thermal Systems

Heat flux sensors, infrared radiometers, and thermocouples play vital roles in monitoring and managing thermal aspects of satellite systems, including thermal control, temperature sensing, and performance optimization. They contribute to the overall reliability and functionality of the satellite in various operational scenarios. Here’s a breakdown of where they might be utilized:

  • Heat Shield: Heat flux sensors are crucial for monitoring the heat flux experienced by the satellite’s heat shield during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere
  • Infrared Imaging Instruments: Infrared radiometers are commonly used in satellite payloads for Earth observation missions
  • Remote Sensing Instruments: Certain scientific instruments onboard satellites may use infrared radiometers to study the thermal properties of celestial bodies, such as planets, moons, or asteroids
  • Heat Pipes and Radiators: Heat flux sensors and thermocouples are employed in thermal control systems to monitor heat transfer rates and temperatures within heat pipes and radiators
  • Insulation and Blankets: Thermocouples are often embedded within insulation materials or thermal blankets to monitor temperatures at specific locations on the satellite’s surface
  • Solar Panels: Thermocouples may be integrated into solar panels to monitor temperatures and assess the performance of photovoltaic cells
  • Power Distribution Systems: Thermocouples are also used to monitor temperatures in electrical components, such as batteries, power converters, and busbars
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