Mechanical Systems Laboratory
What is it for?
The Laboratory covers environmental testing in the thermal and mechanical domain for small scale space equipment and payloads. Experimental verification is a very valuable way for verifying and tuning specific industrial designs during development phases. In conjunction with modelling activities, testing helps in understanding how hardware will respond to the temperature extremes prevailing in space as well as to the violent stresses during launch.
Key thermal and mechanical properties of space materials need to be measured, such as the thermal conductivity, the thermal efficiency of multi-layer-insulation (MLI) and the coefficient of thermal expansion. These measurements are essential to analyse and predict the overall performance of a space system in flight conditions, and provide valuable information for the actual design. Experts in the Laboratory also provide significant support for the investigation of in-orbit anomalies.
The Laboratory's tasks are primarily linked to project support to all ESA Projects. External customers are also supported in response to specific test requests. The Laboratory is ISO17025 accredited and around 70 tests are performed per year.
Last update: 17 September 2009