High-Tech: Dynamic Testing of Spacecraft

m+p international continually strives to be a leader in aerospace testing. The most renowned aerospace companies rely on our products for dynamic testing, vibration control, monitoring  and analysis.

Monitors office test lab
Johns Hopkins University APL: m+p international’s high-channel count systems used for large-scale spacecraft testing

Spacecraft require specific sets of dynamic testing to undergo to reduce risk and ensure mission success. We provide comprehensive dynamic testing packages with multifaceted capabilities that enable the most advanced tests to be run safely and efficiently. The complete system is based on several components for vibration overtest protection, vibration control, multi-channel data acquisition as well as post-test analysis.

Multi-Channel Monitoring

Our m+p Coda overtest protection system actively monitors tens or even hundreds of channels, including amplifier current and voltage, strain, stress and pressure while recording time domain data for post-anomaly analysis should any signal reach predefined levels. The protection is not limited to amplifiers, shakers and vibration control systems. Pressurized tanks, battery voltages, critical structures and more can all be monitored and equipped with automated shutdown circuitry for safety.

Vibration Control

The m+p VibControl system can have 128 channels in the control loop all while performing calculations on pseudo-channels to monitor overturning moment, force and even geometric vector-RSS calculations for off-axis accelerometers. While controlling the vibration test, the system can also store time domain data for advanced post-test analysis of all channels or a subset, including notch and limit channels. Built-in bridge modules now provide dynamic notching for stress/strain gauges and pressure sensors for an added layer of control.

Test lab telescope men
James Webb Space Telescope: 256-channel recording and monitoring system from m+p international

Analysis

Many aerospace structures require frequency and time domain recorded data in addition to the channels acquired by the control system. For example, the analysis team responsible for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) utilized a 256-channel system from m+p international to record acceleration in sinusoidal sweep harmonic plots and time domain data during vibration testing. Additionally, it served as a watchdog system to abort a vibration test should any of the channels should reach their limits.

Instruments blue rack black
Rack-mounted acquisition hardware

Post-test analysis is critical to determine the test’s efficacy and comprehensiveness. m+p VibControl offers a full bundle of post-processing and analysis facilities. Whenever more advanced calculations are needed, the m+p Analyzer software completes this task. It saves hours of single-line-flow in between the graduated testing levels and axes and frees the test engineers to perform concurrent tasks like making test preparations and checking the health of their shaker.

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Online data reduction during closed-loop sine vibration test

Complete System

m+p international has made enormous strides to increase the efficiency and reduce the risk of vibration testing. This has been done by combining a revolutionary, standalone monitor system with both a reliable vibration control system and extensive data acquisition system and finally networking all three to an extremely capable post-processing and analysis system.

Read more in the article “Beyond Acceleration: Dynamic Testing for High-Value Test Articles”, Aerospace Testing Technology International, Showcase 2020.

 

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