Force Limited Vibration Test on ESA Satellites

Kistler has played its part in European space technology for quite some time - the most
recent at ESTEC in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

At the European Space and Research Test Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, satellites and components are tested to verify that they will survive the extreme loads that they will see during launch.

Several vibration facilities are available at ESTEC to cover the large range of specimen size: The smallest system is a 80 kN electrodynamic shaker (LDS 964) that is used for specimen until a few hundred kilos. The second system is a multishaker system combining the force of two 160 kN shakers to test specimen up to 5 tons. Finally, a large 6-DOF hydraulic platform can be used for the largest specimens (up to 25 tons).

During the vibration test, the acceleration at the specimen mounting interface is usually controlled. To prevent the specimen from destruction when resonance frequencies are reached it is required to control the forces and moments at which the specimen is submitted. In order to measure these forces, ESTEC purchased 24 Kistler force links Type 9377B that they integrated between the satellite adapter and the shakers. The charge outputs from the load cells are conditioned by 72 charge amplifiers Type 5058A400. A dedicated PC software was generated that allows to easily control all these charge amplifiers. The output of the charge amplifiers are then combined in real time by the computing unit developed by ESTEC to generate 3 forces and 3 moments. These signals are fed to the vibration control console in addition to the acceleration directly measured to control the excitation level.

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Kistler Group

Kistler's core competence is the development, production and use of sensors for measuring pressure, force, torque and acceleration. Kistler's know-how and electronic systems can be used to prepare measuring signals for use in analyzing physical processes, controlling and optimizing industrial processes, improving product quality in manufacturing and improving performance in sports and rehabilitation.

Kistler offers a comprehensive range of sensors and systems for engine development, automotive engineering, plastics and metal processing, installation technology and biomechanics.

A worldwide sales presence in the form of 20 group companies and 30 distributors ensures customer proximity, application support on an individual level and short lead times.

With a staff of more than 800, the Kistler Group is one of the world's leading providers of dynamic measuring instrumentation. The Kistler Group achieved turnover of 174 million Swiss Francs in the 2006 financial year.

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