Through funding received from the Ontario Research and Development
Challenge Fund and ETech (Center for Earth and Environmental
Technologies), UTIAS/SFL has established key facilities
to develop spacecraft systems found nowhere else in Canada.
These facilities support the entire development cycle from
conception and analysis, to design, layout, assembly, integration,
and component and spacecraft-level testing prior to launch.
Class 10,000 clean room with Class 1,000 work area permits
final integration, cleaning and testing of space systems and
satellites prior to shipment to the launch site. The extremely
clean Class 1,000 area enables the integration and preparation
of highly sensitive optical equipment.
do you recreate the three free rotational degrees of freedom
one finds in space on Earth? Gravity is a major obstacle in
performing reliable three-axis attitude verification tests.
Fortunately, using technology provided by Utah State University,
a three-axis motion table is available at UTIAS/SFL for just
the purpose. With computer-controlled automatic mass balancing,
spacecraft attitude control hardware and software can be tested
and verified with confidence to accuracies under one degree.
ensure that our electronics survive the extreme conditions
of space, UTIAS/SFL has a large Cincinnati Sub-Zero Z-16 thermal
cycle chamber with temperature range from -75°C to 170°C
capable of ±5°C increments. A smaller Tenny Jr.
chamber with -85°C to 200°C temperature range allows
us to test electronics to extreme temperature gradients of
±25°C by swapping between chambers. Data line portholes
also permit functional testing during thermal soaks.
Thermal Vacuum Chamber
small thermal vacuum chamber is available with approximate
inner dimensions 9"x11"x3" for testing
components in a vacuum at different temperatures found in
space. The chamber has analog, digital, and RF feedthrough
connectors that allow components to be operated in thermal
in the development cycle due to late software development
are virtually eliminated by using computers to simulate the
satellite and ground station, allowing programmers to develop
flight code early in the proper development environments,
using the proper interfaces. As hardware is developed, the
simulated entities are replaced with the actual subsystems
and components running the software that will ultimately be
used in orbit. The system evolves into the satellite itself,
ready for final integration and testing prior to launch.
critical element of this facility is the RT-Lab hardware-in-the-loop
system, provided by OPAL-RT. This system allows MATRIXx/SystemBuild
models to be used to simulate attitude control systems, spacecraft
dynamics, and environmental models with ease and simplicity.
AutoCode C permits the real-time execution of SystemBuild
models for seamless integration and testing of actual spacecraft
Our computing facilities consist of a networked collection
of Pentium III and IV machines, with up to 512MB of RAM running
Windows 2000 Professional. For structural analysis and design,
high-end software such as Solid Edge V15 and I-DEAS ensure
product quality and guaranteed performance. SINDA/G and NEVADA
support detailed thermal analysis and control design, providing
temperature predictions to within a few degrees of actual.
Schematic capture and layout of custom computers and telemetry
and command boards are performed using OrCAD Capture CIS,
Express, and Layout Plus, special tools that are only found
in the largest high-tech electronics companies.
To aid in designing our own radios, a rare educational agreement
gives us access to the HP EESof Advanced Design System (Premier
Version). Satellite Tool Kit helps make mission analysis and
design simple and straightforward. Through UTIAS/SFL's powerful
network of computers running the best and latest software,
the development cycle time is reduced to an absolute minimum.
capabilities in VHF/UHF, L-band, and S-band frequency bands,
and fast download rates, UTIAS/SFL is using and modifying
inexpensive commercial transceivers, converters, amplifiers,
and terminal node controllers to handle the high demands of
space science missions such as MOST.
precision controlled two-meter dish permits communications
in the smallest of contact windows. Custom upgrades to the
hardware and software are easily accomplished, drawing upon
the expertise developed at UTIAS/SFL.
supported protocols include AX.25 and PACSAT, with future
supported protocols including CCSDS and custom in-house developed
formats. Other features include remote ground station control
and operations through the internet.
to Vibration Test Facilities, Thermal Vacuum Chambers and
developing partnerships with government, universities, and
business, UTIAS/SFL has access to other important but expensive
facilities at extremely attractive rates. This includes thermal
vacuum chambers and shaker tables at CSA's David Florida Laboratory
and Instrument Calibration Facility (a.k.a. "MOPITT"
Lab). Collaboration with Intec Aerospace Limited also permits
access to expensive autoclaves for advanced composite manufacturing.
Integration and Test Facilities
has a full set of equipment to build custom surface-mount
electronics. We also have a complete set of test support equipment
to evaluate custom computer systems and radios, including
network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, RF oscilloscopes and