Satellite Vibration Testing

Tom Christensen
09/24/2021

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utah state university's get away special team accomponied by nanoracks representatives during vibration testing for their cube satellite
USU's satellite and Nanoracks' deployer
integrated on vibration table

Utah State University's GAS Team completed and passed vibration testing. 10 of the 14 fellowship researchers and 2 Nanoracks' representatives travelled to Hyrum to Rocky Mountain Testing Solutions to complete vibration testing required by NASA for their upcoming launch to the International Space Station.


How the Satellite is Vibrated Accurately

Rocky Mountain Testing Solutions uses a air powered vibration table in order to recreate simulated vibrations that the satellite will experience during it's launch in December of 2021. A large cushion of air contained within the central section of the unit is able to expand and contract at precise frequencies. Interestingly these vibrations are needed to be tested on differing axis, so the vibration table is capale of rotating 90 degrees in order to accomodate for that necessity.


 

Vibrations Emulated

The 1 U Cube Sat from Utah State University's GAS Team is going to mounted inside of a NanoRacks deployer. This means that the sides of the sides of the aluminum body of the satellite frame will be in direct contact with the rails of the NanoRacks deployer. With that hard contact, the connections of the deployer to the frame of the rocket is designed to be a "soft mounting". A "soft mounting" of the deployer to the rocket means that the deployer will be held with foam and cushioning between the deployer and rocket. This mounting is recreated in the vibration testing where similar foams were used to mount the Nanoracks deployer with the vibration table.

integratted satellite and deployer mounted on vibration table

 

 

Nanoracks Partnership

Nanoracks is a company that has partnered with the Utah State University's GAS Team, SpaceX and NASA in order to mount the University Student's satellite research project onto a rocket being sent to space. We were greatful for the two representatives from Nanoracks who demonstrated professionalism and worked well along with the GAS Team Members as the satellite was integrated and tested.

Special Thanks to Rocky Mountain Testing Solutions

Rocky Mountain Testing Solutions was a great company to work with for Utah State University's GAS Team satellite vibration testing. Employee's at the company, explained the tests, demonstrated the equipment and were exceptionally hospitable for the GAS Team and Nanoracks employees.