The normally shuttered doors of ESA’s satellite testing facility were thrown open to the BBC’s popular Stargazing Live programme last Friday. Some 1.8 million viewers witnessed a live demonstration of the earthquake-strength Electrodynamic Shaker, used to simulate the intense vibrations of a space launch.
BBC presenter Dallas Campbell, seen atop the shaker here, was careful to jump off it before the session began. The shaker sweep began at three times per second, building up to 200 times per second.
The vibrating test item atop the shaker was not actual flight hardware but a mockup created expressly for the show.
ESA engineer Matteo Appolloni explained the workings of the shaker to viewers.
ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in the Netherlands is the largest facility of its kind in Europe, providing a complete suite of equipment for all aspects of satellite testing under a single roof.