1st Skybox Satellite Clears Thermal Vacuum Testing

by

Skybox Imaging of Mountain View, Calif., completed thermal vacuum testing of its first satellite in a chamber at NASA’s Ames Research Center at nearby Moffet Field, the company announced Nov. 29.

During the 16-day test, the satellite was subjected to the conditions it will experience in low Earth orbit, Skybox said. The satellite was put through a number of tests including one in which the Skybox team simulated flying it for 20 orbits, the company said.

“Spacecraft thermal vacuum testing is the largest and most important phase in our integrated spacecraft test program,” Jonny Dyer, Skybox’s chief engineer, said in a prepared statement. “Successful completion of this milestone gives us greater confidence that our first spacecraft will perform well in the space thermal environment.”

Next up for the spacecraft is vibration testing, scheduled early next year. The satellite, part of a planned constellation for high-resolution imagery collection, is slated for launch in the second quarter of 2013, the company said.