Space systems facilities
Our lab is equipped with a world-leading range of equipment for simulation of and experimentation into material behaviours in the extreme conditions of space exploration.
The Rarefied Orbital Aerodynamics Research (ROAR) facility is a ground-based experiment that reproduces the atomic oxygen flux found in Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO). ROAR is designed to provide a deeper understanding of how materials behave in such environments.
The facility is composed of a 1400L ultrahigh vacuum system capable of 10-9 to 10-11 mbar; a hyperthermal oxygen atom generator with a flux of 1013 to 1015 atoms/cm2/s flux; and ion-neutral mass spectrometers for measurement of the energy, velocity, and composition of the flow.
An ISO 7 (Class 10,000) cleanroom is used to provide a suitable environment for test-sample loading, preventing contamination of the system.
Our space environment chamber can be used for thermal vacuum cycling of small spacecraft components or 1-3U CubeSats. The system consists of a 130L vacuum chamber capable of a vacuum pressure of down to 10-5 mbar.
The system also houses our thermal shroud with a range of approximately +120°C to -50°C with a test volume of 10cm x 30cm x 10cm.
Our satellite ground station can communicate with spacecraft in Low Earth Orbit.
The system is capable of both command uplink and data downlink on both S-band (MHz) and UHF/VHF (MHz). Autonomous tracking capability is provided though a programmable all-weather rotator and pass-prediction software.
Research and testing
- Solid rocket motor thrust rig
- Lunar excavation environment simulator
- Hybrid rocket motor
- CanSat deployment using solid-fuel rockets and multi-rotor platforms
- Helmholtz cage for magnetic field experimentation