Since we only have one chance to make a CubeSat or small satellite work in space, rigorous test campaigns are conducted at different stages of the manufacturing process to assess system performance and validate compliance with mission requirements. The goal is to identify and rectify any issues or anomalies before the satellite is sent into space.
Subsystem and Payload Functional Tests for CubeSats and Small Satellites
Subsystem and payload functional tests are specific evaluations conducted to ensure the proper operation of individual subsystems and instruments in CubeSats and small satellites. Subsystem test engineers help identify any firmware, and hardware faults or malfunctions that might affect the overall performance of the satellite.
Software and Firmware Tests in CubeSat and Small Satellite Systems
Software Test Engineers extensively test the software and firmware to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and efficiency of the software systems in CubeSats and small satellites. The complexity lies in managing the interdependencies between different software modules and ensuring seamless integration with the CubeSat’s or small satellite’s hardware and payload components.
Integration Tests for CubeSats and Small Satellites
Integration tests ensure all subsystems and components’ compatibility and proper functioning when integrated into the final CubeSat or small satellite. Challenges can arise when integrating different subsystems from various manufacturers into CubeSats and small satellites, requiring careful coordination and testing. Through comprehensive integration tests, we reduce the likelihood of incompatibility or malfunctions during the satellite’s mission.
System End-to-End Tests and Full Qualification for CubeSats and Small Satellites
After individual subsystems and instruments have been thoroughly tested, system end-to-end tests are conducted to verify the overall functionality of the CubeSat or small satellite. This involves recreating real-world conditions through environmental tests that verify the CubeSat’s or small satellite’s craftsmanship and functionality in a simulated launch and space environment. Through these tests, engineers can validate the overall performance of the CubeSat or small satellite and ensure that it meets the desired mission objectives and is ready for launch.
EMC and ESD Tests for CubeSats and Small Satellites
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) and electrostatic discharge (ESD) tests are vital to ensure the CubeSat’s or small satellite’s ability to function reliably in the presence of external electromagnetic fields and discharge events during its operation.
Ground Segment Acceptance Tests for CubeSat and Small Satellite Missions
The ground segment includes the infrastructure and systems necessary to control and communicate with the CubeSat or small satellite from the ground. Before the CubeSat’s or small satellite’s launch, the ground segment undergoes rigorous acceptance tests to ensure proper communication links, data transfer, and integration with Mission Control Software.