Thermal-vacuum chamber

We carry out tests of the  components, mechanisms, subsystems and complete space vehicles (e.g. satellites) in a simulated and fully controlled space environment on the ground.

Testing in a thermal-vacuum chamber enables, among others:

  • verification of the design and its mechanical execution,
  • confirmation of correct operation in flight:
    • demonstrating the soundness of the structure;
    • verification of operation in accordance with the specification in a characteristic environment;
    • measurement of critical operating parameters (power dissipation);
  • verification of performance (in terms of specifications) in the target environment,
  • measurement of critical performance parameters (heat dissipation),
  • confirmation of the assumptions of the thermal model,
  • conducting bake-out and verifying the type of degassed particles.

Thermal-vacuum chamber – tests

Types of the conducted tests:

  • environmental load tests,
  • performance verification,
  • thermal verification of equipment,
  • baking.

Testing is carried out at four stress levels:

  1. Development testing – performed in order to obtain data for analysis, implementation possible at any time of the test sequence.
  2. Qualification testing – verification of the hardware and the production process, excluding the quality of workmanship; environmental exposures greater than expected in orbit. Testing is not performed on a flight model.
  3. Protoflight qualification testing – performed on a flight model, also called protoequal testing or flight-proof testing.
  4. Acceptance test – verification of the quality of workmanship and demonstration of “flight-worthiness”, carried out after the qualification test.

Thermal-vacuum chamber – characteristics

The chamber is equipped with ECODRY40 roots pumps and MAG1600 turbomolecular pumps to achieve a vacuum level of 10-6 mbar (10-5 Pa).


  • internal volume of the chamber: 4.5 m3;
  • usable testing space: 3.5m3;
  • measurement table dimensions: 2100 x 1000 mm;
  • 7 independently temperature-controlled thermal plates (independent cooling and heating circuits);
  • cooling system: liquid nitrogen;
  • sliding on rails and a tank made of 304 L stainless steel;
  • tank cover with a diameter of 1140 mm, inside coated with high emissivity black paint (type MAP 11 + PU1);
  • temperature of each of the panels and modules of the inner jacket adjustable in the range from -180oC to +165oC;
  • temperature stabilization using LN2 and GN2;
  • automated process of controlling and monitoring the chamber’s operation monitored remotely using the “SPIRALE Vs” software;
  • approximate rate of temperature changes of about 1.5oC/min when heating and cooling;
  • cleanbox ISO 7 class, according to ISO 14644-1 standard;
  • quartz microbalance [QCM];
  • built-in residual gas analyzer (RGA);
  • protected zone (EPA zone) against electrostatic discharges (ESD protection).

The Environmental Tests Laboratory is an accredited laboratory according to the ISO/IEC 17025 standard “General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories”, the scope of PCA AB132 accreditation.