FalconSAT-5 completes environmental testing

Cadets prepare for thermal and vibration testing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N. M., on the engineering model of FalconSAT-5. Courtesy Photo
Cadets prepare for thermal and vibration testing at Kirtland Air Force Base, N. M., on the engineering model of FalconSAT-5. Courtesy Photo

From the Department of Astronautics

 

The U.S. Air Force Academy’s FalconSAT-5 small satellite cleared its final testing hurdle this week before it leaves for Alaska in July. 

A team of Astronautics faculty and staff conducted a final round of environmental testing on the satellite at Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M., on June 2 and then briefed program status and test results to senior leaders from the Department of Defense  Space Test Program and Air Force Research Lab.

This testing was necessitated by an anomaly discovered during functional testing in March 2010 and subsequently repaired.  The environmental reverification of FalconSAT-5 clears the way for shipment in mid-July to the  Kodiak Launch Complex on Kodiak Island, Alaska and then launch vehicle integration as one of six experimental payloads aboard an Orbital Sciences Minotaur IV booster for the STP-S26 mission.  Launch is now set for early-September.

FalconSAT-5 is an experimental satellite designed, built, and tested by cadets and faculty in a multi-disciplinary senior capstone design class.  The satellite has four payloads to analyze space weather phenomena while characterizing the effects of onboard plasma and cold-gas thrusters.