The National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) is a new facility in the United Kingdom for the environmental testing of complete satellites and large sub-assemblies. To be operated by RAL Space in Oxfordshire, the new facility is set to be completed by Spring 2021 and will contain the UK’s largest single combined facilities for Vibration, EMC / Antenna Range, Acoustic, Mass Property and Thermal testing.
The facility is primarily aimed at testing satellite hardware with payloads up to 7 tonnes and the combined facilities able to fully replicate the conditions and severity of all launch conditions. A pyro-shock test facility is also provided to simulate separation of the satellite from the launch vehicle adapter.
A key component of the test facilities is a high-speed multi-channel Dynamic Test Data Acquisition System. After an international competitive tender involving several specialist companies, a 512 channel Prosig system was selected by NTSF. The system comprises 2 x 256 channel sub-systems with four DATS-hyper12 chassis each, allowing two separate racks to be deployed on in different locations if required. The 24-bit acquisition channels accept Accelerometers, Microphone and Voltage parameters with both IEP and TEDS support.