Major infrastructure here includes Europe’s largest vacuum chamber, equipped with a Sun simulator and liquid nitrogen in its walls to reproduce space conditions; Europe’s loudest sound system, used to blast satellites with simulated launch noise and Europe’s most powerful hydraulic shaker system, able to reproduce launcher vibrations equivalent in turn to a major earthquake.
ESA’s Test Centre has supported many historic missions, Europe’s 20-tonne ATV space truck and Envisat, the world’s largest civilian Earth-observing mission, no less than 22 Galileo ‘Full Operational Capability’ satellites and the multi-module BepiColombo spacecraft currently journeying to Mercury. Supported through Basic Activities, the Test Centre works closely with other European test facilities, sharing testing innovations and best practice.
The ESTEC Test Centre is operated by European Test Services (ETS) on behalf of ESA.
The Test Centre is established not only to provide specific support to ESA’s own projects but also to serve the needs of European space and non-space industries.
TEST CENTRE ROLE
The Test Centre hosts in a single location the most advanced facilities and measurement tools: a world-class infrastructure qualified to execute environmental testing (vibration, acoustic, electro-magnetic, thermal-vacuum) on all types and sizes of specimens to verify that they are suitable for the purpose;
Thanks to its state-of-the-heart equipment, the Test Centre is capable to handle all kinds of space hardware and simulate all aspects of space-flight;
The Test Centre has been built to support ESA's programmes but also to work in close interaction with European industry for other space or non-space programmes: tailored support is available to address and solve particular issues and future developments. The Test Centre is indeed able to adapt its facilities to the special needs of its Customers.