How is the Power Systems Laboratory equipped?

The Power System Laboratory is made up of two separate work areas, the Power Electronics Laboratory and High Voltage Laboratory. The Power Electronics Laboratory includes the following facilities:


  • Ten electronic work benches all individually equipped with tools including meters, analogue oscilloscopes. Each has an independent power supply linked to solar array and battery simulators for testing representative of space conditions.
  • Specialised Elgar-made solar array simulators for verification of maximum power point tracking systems (MPPTs), which are electronic controllers used to optimise solar array output, storing surplus power in the spacecraft batteries until needed.
  • General purpose solar array simulators for verification of regulators used to limit voltage oscillations and solar array drive mechanisms (SADMs) which steer solar arrays to maintain an optimal pointing direction towards the Sun.
  • Measurement bridge used for measuring electrical resistance, for the characterisation and testing of capacitors, inductors and transformers
  • Thermal camera to evaluate thermal stress on breadboards and small electrical units while in operation

The High Voltage Laboratory includes the following facilities:

  • High voltage power sources: up to 60,000 volts for DC, up to 40,000 volts for AC and high current power available.
  • Combined thermal vacuum chamber and Faraday cage for high voltage testing in a range of environments from ambient to partial pressure to deep vacuum conditions.
  • Thermal and thermal-vacuum chambers to assess the performance of 'breadboard' engineering models and small electrical units in vacuum conditions and temperature extremes.
  • Insulation testers and protected high voltage workspaces.
  • High voltage partial protection measurement down to a noise level of 0.2 picoCoulomb.

The Power System Laboratory also has access to a range of specialised software tools used for circuit analysis, system simulation and power/energy budgeting purposes.

Last update: 27 September 2012

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