The number of satellites brought into orbit has increased significantly in recent years. This is partly due to the fact that our lives are increasingly dependent on satellite-based products and services such as the Internet and mobile communications. If one of the satellite components fails, the entire satellite is usually unusable and floats around as space debris. This is why it is important to carefully test the installed components under space conditions. This is done, for example, by using thermal vacuum chambers which can simulate the temperatures prevailing in space in addition to the vacuum. In terms of sustainability, the repair of defective components in space is desirable. For this, however, the exact interaction, especially the expansion behaviour, of the individual components must be known. In order to precisely determine the expansion behaviour, measurements of the components must be carried out under the appropriate storage conditions. By comparing the measurements with simulations, the measuring effort for further parts can be minimized in a further step.
The aim of the research project is to predict, measure and verify the expansion and loading of satellite components under space conditions. On the one hand, the exact temperature expansion within the vacuum chamber is to be determined. On the other hand, in a first step, the total deformation and the temperature field expansion of homogeneous individual parts are to be mapped and measured. A suitable measuring system for the representation of deformations in the micrometer range will be developed and validated using a 3D scanner. Subsequently, design rules for optimal component design under space conditions are derived from the results obtained.
The environmental campus cooperates with the Rhineland-Palatinate company JUST Vakuum Technik from Landstuhl, which deals with the construction of space simulation chambers, i.e. thermal vacuum chambers which can simulate the temperatures prevailing in space (in the range of approx. -175 to +200°C) in addition to the vacuum. In a first step, a small experimental setup will be designed at the environmental campus and investigations carried out with the available 3D scan systems. For the generation of space conditions (vacuum, temperatures) the project is supported by Prof. Trapp. In a next step the gained knowledge will be transferred to a thermal vacuum chamber of the company Just and measurements will be carried out.