The end (of qualification testing) is near

With the completion of pyroshock testing at ISIS in Delft it has been shown that the BiSon64 sunsensor is capable of surviving a launch on any launcher currently known.

Sunsensor Z axis SRS

Sunsensor Z axis SRS

Next to the pyroshocks perfomed (3 in each axis) some 14 other units where sustaining the heat (and cold) of thermal cycle testing at ESTEC.

Positioned in the gaseous nitrogen test facility the units were rapidly cycled between -40C and +80C at temperature change rates that reached up to 10 degrees per minute while heating up and down to -14 degrees per minute while cooling down. Both visual inspections and electrical tests confirmed that the units survived these tests without any significant degradation.

thermal cycle tests

14 BiSon64 units under thermal cycling test at ESTEC

The last tests foreseen to demonstate the survivability of the BiSon64 are a solar eclipse test and a coupon test. During the solar eclipse test in the Viraq facility the sensors will be alternately illuminated by a solar simulator and submerged in a liquid nitrogen cooled dewar. This test is under vacuum and simulates the solar eclipse transitions experienced by sunsensors in real life conditions (when mounted on a thin low mass structure). This test is planned for October 2015.

Last but not least the sensors will be submitted to a 30.000 thermal cycle double sine test. this test has a base cycle of -20c to +60C on top of which 30.000 thermal cycles of -20C..+20C will be superimposed. This test mimics several years in orbit taking diurnal variations into account. This test will take several months to complete and is planned to start early 2016.

These tests will conclude a full space qualification program for the BiSon64 and will allow us to serve customers worldwide in the confidence that whatever happens, our sensors will stay functioning within established parameters as long as their application will.