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These 9 m-high spike-lined walls enclose the hushed interior of ESA’s Maxwell test chamber, which isolates satellites from all external influences to assess their electromagnetic compatibility.
Once its main door is sealed, the metal walls of the chamber form a ‘Faraday Cage’, screening out external electromagnetic signals. The ‘anechoic’ foam pyramids covering its interior absorb internal signals – as well as sound – to prevent any reflection, mimicking the infinite void of space.
The satellite’s systems are then switched on to detect any harmful interference as its various elements operate together.
Maxwell is part of the test centre in ESA’s technical heart in Noordwijk, the Netherlands – Europe’s largest satellite testing facility.