A new ‘specimen access device’ (SPAD) to allow safe and fast access to spacecraft being tested in the Large Space Simulator chamber is now fully operational at ESA’s Test Centre.
The SPAD is basically a customised crane, carrying a basket to move an operator inside the Large Space Simulator (LSS). The LSS is a huge chamber at ESA’s European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands, which can simulate the space environment. Its exceptional test volume makes it an excellent tool for testing large satellites and systems under conditions very close to those found in orbit.
The SPAD moves on parallel rails on the top floor of the LSS building. It has three main parts: the main bridge, the trolley that moves along the main bridge, and the ‘telescopic’ mast with the operator’s ‘basket’ at the end.
Francesco Ratti | alfa
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