The first phase of the installation of one of the largest space simulators in Europe made by Angelantoni Test Technologies (ACS brand) for the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) in the UK is now complete.
With a useful internal dimension of 7m in diameter by 12m in length and a temperature range of -180°C to +100°C, it is the largest Thermal Vacuum Chamber of this type installed in the UK and will be counted among the "giants" of Europe, destined to perform tests both on interplanetary probes for scientific missions and on commercial satellites for terrestrial orbit.
RAL Space carries out world-class space research and technological development activities with involvement in over two hundred space missions. The works for the main construction of the vessel started in November 2018 and in recent days the delivery of this major part was made by using sophisticated transport methods.
The main shipment to the United Kingdom from Italy was made by ship. The chamber segments were then taken by a convoy of trucks from the port of Portsmouth to Harwell - home of the National Satellite Test Facility (NSTF) in Oxfordshire - in what was one of the largest single road movements the UK has ever seen: the motorways were just big enough to accommodate this "special" transfer.
"This project" - explained ACS Project Manager Massimiliano Sugoni - "represented a challenge both from a technical-qualitative point of view and in terms of timing. Both requirements have been met thanks to the professionalism and experience of our team in creating very complex chambers in terms of performance and size. During the installation, the client's collaboration was also invaluable: a team was built right from the start with a passion for building one of the largest and most advanced European space simulators".
Matt Fletcher, Head of Environmental Test, RAL Space said, "In addition to the current small, medium and large chambers RAL Space offers to the space sector, this new chamber vastly increases our test capacity, allowing much larger space hardware to be tested. It will allow us to test even more of the satellites which serve our everyday life, from telecommunications satellites which transmit our TV signal to the satellites monitoring the health of our planet, right here in the UK."
"This extraordinary work of Italian engineering and technology" - commented Gianluigi Angelantoni, President of the Angelantoni Group - "reinforces our presence in the Aerospace sector, which began in 1952 with the first vacuum chamber and continued in 1988 with the first space simulator. It also strengthens the Italian prestige in space technologies, given that Italy was the third country in the world to launch an orbiting satellite."
Angelantoni Test Technologies is proud to have contributed to this project which joins other collaborations with worldwide agencies and space companies such as Thales Alenia Space, Leonardo, CIRA, Argotec in Italy and Thales Alenia Space in France, ESA and TNO in the Netherlands , ASTROCAST in Switzerland, INTA in Spain, Roscomos in Russia, ISRO in India, KARI in Korea, ANGKASA in Malaysia and CONAE in Argentina. Many of these projects concern sustainable exploration missions, experimenting new technologies and observation from space to develop environmentally friendly strategies in order to safeguard our planet.