Instrument (parts) space flight testing
To space-qualify is to take a product, process, or material and test it in order to prove that it will withstand the environment of space flight. This process can include the following tests and processes:
- parts screening
- thermal test
- vacuum test
- vibration test
- material analysis
A flight qualification can include a test in the actual desired environment.
Space qualification domains
Instruments or equipment that are used onboard satellites usually undergo a process of space qualification, which is done in different domains:
- Mechanical qualification:
Vibration testing to see if the equipment can survive the vibrations during a rocket launch, or the shock when a satellite is released from its carrier.
- Thermal qualification:
In vacuum conditions to see if the equipment can survive in harsh cold and/or warm conditions in space.
- Electro-magnetic qualification:
To see if an equipment does not electro-magnetically disturb other equipment onboard the spacecraft, or, reversely, is not disturbed by any other neighbouring equipment.
- Lifetime qualification:
Tests to check if an equipment will remain operational throughout the projected duration of a mission, or, for mechanisms, will perform a sufficient number of operational cycles.