During the end of August EHUspace team has been really busy undergoing the final test campaign for the instrument ACORDE, which will be hopefully embarked on BEXUS 23 by the end of this September 2016.
The two-day campaign consisted in the temperature and vacuum tests, which are required in order to show the capability of our experiment to withstand the environmental conditions that it will encounter during the ascend and descend on the BEXUS gondola.
The temperature test consisted in introducing ACORDE inside a temperature chamber and then simulating the temperature drop profile (up to minus 60 degrees C) to be experienced. Several temperature sensors where placed in key-locations in order to obtain its instant value. After a 80 minutes run, ACORDE survived the freezing conditions and all the electronics and devices on-board performed as expected.
For the vacuum test, ACORDE was allocated within a pressure chamber which was capable of simulating the pressure conditions at 30 km of altitud (around 6 mb, 100 times less than at sea level). Again, the electronics performed correctly, the thermal control subsystem kept the experiment working and the pressure vessel withstanded the overpressure (sea-level 1 atm inside the vessel). Additionally, these two tests also provided our team valious information regarding the behaviour of the dry-ice (this would be the ""fuel"" of our system) in this extreme conditions.
After the completion of these challenges, the EHUspace team faces the final stage of the project very confident as ACORDE has proved to be totally operational within the expected flight environmental conditions.
Finally, we have to say a big THANK YOU to the staff and people of CTA (Centro de Tecnologías Aeronáuticas; http://ctaero.com/) at the Parque Tecnológico de Alava (Miñano), the aerospace technology testing center where we performed those tests. Thanks for all your support, as well as to TECNALIA for the collaboration agreement between them and the EHUspace team.
We will keep you updated with the following steps.