SpaceNed verbindt
de Nederlandse ruimtevaartsector

New thermal vacuum chamber at NLR

In 2020, NLR has designed and installed a second thermal vacuum chamber. The new chamber will serve along the already-existing chamber. However, due to its smaller volume, this new chamber is excellently suited for CubeSats and quick thermal tests, like a thermal bake-out, thermal cycling and thermal balance test.

Thermal verification of CubeSat designs

After completion, the chamber has already served as test environment in two recent projects. Together with ISIS, NLR has performed CubeSat thermal verification tests, in order to verify ESATAN-TMS simulations with actual test data. Findings of the project were summarized in a recent publication by ISIS and NLR at the ICES conference: “Thermal Analysis and Verification of CubeSat Designs with ESATAN-TMS”, Te Nijenhuis, Brouwer et al., International Conference for Environmental Systems, 104, 2021.

Thermal characterization of piezo actuators for space application

The second set of tests performed in the NLR’s new thermal vacuum chamber are the tests performed by TU Delft and NLR. Goal of the tests was the thermal characterization of piezo actuators that can be used for deformation and positioning of mirrors in space. The power dissipation of the piezo actuator was measured, and will serve as an input for thermal models of satellite (sub)systems. With this improved knowledge of the thermal performance of the piezo, measures can be applied to limit the leakage from dissipated heat to the optics elements on the satellite.