The tests campaign of PW-Sat satellite was a great success. During a few last weeks the satellite was subjected to the simulated conditions of rocket launch and to the expected environment of the space.
The most violent were the vibration tests, performed in the Air Force Institute of Technology. PW-Sat, placed in a box simulating the P-POD container, has been repeatedly shaken. Shocks have a different character – a single pulses, a long series of random vibrations. In the critical moments, the satellite was subjected to a load factor fifty times greater than Earth’s gravitational pull. Though shaken, PW-Sat remained not stirred – came out of the test without any damage. Another series of shocks wait for the satellite at ESA labs, but then it will be placed inside P-POD container, along with two another CubeSats.
The next step was a thermal-vacuum tests. This time the satellite was placed in a special chamber, and then the air was removed. Atmospheric pressure at the sea level is about 102,400 pascals, but at an altitude of several hundred kilometers, where the PW-Sat will orbit, drops to a millionth (or even billionth) of a pascal. The vacuum chamber simulates such conditions and allows for changes in temperature as well.
During the functional tests, the satellite’s subsystems were inspected to find out if the electronics was still able to operate. PW-Sat worked as expected – has activated its computer, deployed the antennas and started the communication session. Indeed, PW-Sat demonstrated the readiness for spaceflight.