West Virginia’s First Spacecraft completes NASA Environmental Testing

The Simulation-To-Flight (STF-1) CubeSat, a miniaturized satellite built by the NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) Independent Test Capability (ITC) team, in partnership with TMC2 Technologies, West Virginia University, the WV Space Grant Consortium, and the WV High Tech Foundation, has successfully completed extensive testing at the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Environmental Testing facilities.

Fig.1: The STF-1 CubeSat fully assembled and charging.

 

The tests are designed to simulate the harsh environmental conditions the spacecraft will encounter during launch and spaceflight. The CubeSat response to extreme hot and cold temperatures and intense vibrations was carefully evaluated before receiving the final “ready for flight” approval. “STF-1 has undergone extensive testing throughout the integration process, but these tests in ideal conditions do not compare to the rigors of space that are simulated through environmental testing. We are happy to report that STF-1 performed equally well in an airconditioned lab, and under vacuum at the full operating temperature range. Inspections after environmental tests were completed to prove that the spacecraft can withstand the vibrations that will occur during launch, and go on to complete the mission objectives” commented Mr. Matt Grubb, STF-1 lead engineer.

Fig.2: The STF-1 CubeSat mounted on the vibration table (left) and the STF-1 being installed into the thermal chamber (right).

 

The Simulation-to-Flight 1 (STF-1) CubeSat mission aims to demonstrate how legacy simulation technologies may be adapted for flexible and effective use on missions using the CubeSat platform.  According to Wade Linger, President of TMC2 Technologies, “TMC is proud that the STF-1 CubeSat is being designed and built in WV.  TMC is excited that its software-simulation work for the NASA IV&V program can be leveraged for small space satellites.”

 

In addition to being West Virginia’s first satellite mission, the NASA IV&V ITC team is partnering with West Virginia University and the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium to engage WV’s youth through outreach programs and to develop payloads for science experiments. As a result of this partnership, the STF-1 CubeSat is equipped with instruments that will allow for engineering advancement and physical-science research in the areas of navigation systems, plasma physics and space weather, and the performance and durability of III-V Nitride-based materials.

 

NASA has supported Small Satellites by sponsoring the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) that each year provides low-cost access to space for multiple CubeSat missions developed by NASA Centers, educational institutions and non-profit organizations across the United States.  The STF-1 mission was selected by the CSLI in March 2015 and is scheduled to be launched in the upcoming months. More details about the STF-1 mission and NASA IV&V ITC can be found at: http://stf1.com/ and  https://www.nasa.gov/centers/ivv/jstar/ITC.html , respectively.

 

About TMC2 Technologies

TMC2 Technologies is a locally owned and operated information technology (IT) services company specializing in systems engineering in the areas of Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V), software design and development, and program/project management.

Written by Max Spolaor, Scott Zemerick, Matt Grubb

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