The UK’s space industry has received a major piece of new equipment to help get larger, more complex satellites ready for launch.
A 16m long space test chamber, amongst the giants of Europe, has been installed in the UK’s National Satellite Test Facility.
- The Large Space Test Chamber will test spacecraft for the harsh conditions of space including extreme temperatures from -180°C to +100°C
- It has been installed in the National Satellite Test Facility, a UK government investment to build the UK’s largest set of co-located equipment for testing spacecraft which will be opened by the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) RAL Space in 2022
- UK and international businesses will be able to test spacecraft up to the size of a minibus as well as fleets of shoebox-size satellites supporting the growth of the UK’s £14.8 billion sector
The enormous chamber will be used by the space industry to test spacecraft up to 7 tonnes for the harsh conditions of space.
The chamber can be heated and cooled using nitrogen cooled shroud panels to achieve a temperature range of 95 Kelvin to 373 Kelvin to (-180°C to +100°C) so that satellites can be tested for missions into the chill of deep space or near to the Sun.
It will be operated by STFC’s RAL Space, and alongside other test equipment at the National Satellite Test Facility will enable UK businesses to bid competitively for new contracts and remain a world leader in space technologies.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
“The UK is a world-leader in space technology and this impressive new chamber, backed by government funding, will significantly bolster our satellite testing capabilities. Importantly, it will ensure that our space industry has the first-class facilities they need to test large, complex spacecraft as we work towards the UK’s first satellite launch.”