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Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics

Thermal Vacuum

In order to determine the response of the satellite to the heating and cooling it will experience as it orbits earth, CSSWE underwent thermal vacuum testing. A TVAC tank at LASP was used to provide a pressure of < 10-6torr throughout the duration of the test. The temperature of CSSWE was calculated by averaging measurements from four thermocouples attached to the aluminum shell of the CubeSat. CSSWE underwent 8 cycles from -25 to +40°C with 3-hour dwells at each temperature extrema. The image below shows CSSWE being prepped for TVAC testing.

Due to poor conductivity between the satellite and the temperature plate, the satellite was mostly radiatively coupled to the hot plate, causing the temperature cycling to take quite a while. The image below shows the recorded average satellite temperature (black) and when functionality tests were performed (red). At the end of TVAC testing, a hot dwell of 60°C was performed. Functionality testing after TVAC showed that all satellite systems were performing nominally, indicating that CSSWE passed TVAC cycling successfully.