Space and Satellites

A Higher Standard for Space Testing

NTS is the undisputed leader in space testing, proving expert services for satellites, rockets, and spacecraft for civil, commercial, and military use. As a pioneer in space testing, NTS has supported every major space program since the inception of manned space exploration. From commercial Cubesats to the newest space exploration vehicles, NTS provides complete project transparency to help customers mitigate risk, reduce cost, and evaluate product launch readiness. With unrivaled technical knowledge and decades of experience in space testing, NTS adheres to higher standard for ensuring program success.  Key services include:

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NASA Honors NTS with Prestigious Space Flight Award

In 2019, NASA presented NTS with the prestigious Space Flight Awareness Supplier Award. The NASA award “honors outstanding performance” among suppliers who demonstrate “production of high-quality products, excellent technical and cost performance, and adherence to schedules.” Nominated by industry partners Boeing and Lockheed Martin, NTS was commended for its elevated attention to technical excellence along with its accelerated test services. According to Lockheed Martin, “The qualification and testing of hardware for human-rated space flight systems is unique and extensive; and is a critical step in delivering to NASA the safest and most reliable systems for human space exploration. At Lockheed Martin, NTS is identified as one of only a select few approved vendors to test the flight hardware our suppliers are making for the Orion program.”

As the undisputed leader in space testing, NTS is helping NASA maintain its aggressive timeline. In fact, NTS is helping the entire space industry helping the entire space industry move forward with expedited scheduling and around-the-clock work.

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28 Labs in North America

With 28 labs in North America—and a Space Center of Excellence in California—customers are able to work side-by-side with the world’s top experts at convenient locations. With the technical expertise and physical infrastructure to provide you with best-in-class services, you get:

  • On-Time Test Reports
  • Cost Management
  • Open Communication
  • Expedited Scheduling

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Remote Witnessing for Space Testing

Keeping you on schedule is a priority—regardless of circumstance. Whether it’s due to COVID-19 or budgetary considerations, NTS provides remote test witnessing. With this service, you’re able to view testing on a laptop, tablet, or smartphone from the comfort of your home. Take a moment to explore the interactive imagery below to see how you can get safe, secure, and effective remote testing services from anywhere.

Astronautics and Propulsion Testing

Aerospace propulsion testing involves programs that measure the effectiveness of an aircraft or spacecraft’s engine and thrust systems. We utilize space simulation testing and other programs to establish an engine’s reliability and compliance. Propulsion testing becomes critical for successful spacecraft operations, both crewed and uncrewed.

Spacecraft require functioning propulsion systems to achieve their intended purpose. Due to the differences in pressure, humidity and temperature in space, space propulsion testing requires simulating these conditions. At NTS, we have access to a state-of-the-art rocket testing facility that enables us to replicate the environmental demands of space.

During the initial development phases, we use static testing to search for faults and defects in a spacecraft. Static tests allow us to focus on engine performance without movement as a confounding factor. We then move on to programs conducted within our thrust measuring system (TMS). The TMS includes water-cooled ducts that can handle up to 50,000 pounds of thrust that reduce sound levels during testing. Our team can conduct additional testing on engine components in pressure vessels, valves and components that simulate extreme conditions.

  • Exhaust duct rocket and thrust stand testing with up to 50,000-lbf of thrust
  • Large run tanks and pressure vessels
  • Pressurization flow systems and gas storage
  • Propellant-run tanks and flow systems
  • General subsystem and component assembly
  • Vaporization systems and cryogenic fluid storage
  • Hot water and steam flow test systems
  • Quiet technology test facility

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Satellite Systems and Large-Scale Programs

As with spacecraft, satellites require extensive space simulation testing before project execution. Select NTS locations serve as national satellite test facilities that support our clients’ satellites throughout their life cycles. Satellite testing from NTS involves careful inspection and precise program execution for all satellite components. These include transmission equipment, antennas, fuel cells, solar panels and batteries.

Our experience with nearly every major U.S. space program has established us as a leader in space and satellite hardware testing. Industry leaders such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Lockheed Martin and Boeing rely on us for program assistance. We provide complete support in the following areas of space development:

  • Testing and systems evaluations
  • Research and development

We offer additional services for a wide range of components, systems and devices used in large-scale programs. The versatility of our services allows our clients to request a solution that accounts for multiple project aspects.

 

Advancements in Satellite Testing

With advances in technology, the government and corporations alike rely on satellites. The U.S. military counts on satellites for navigation, communications and intelligence gathering. Meanwhile, companies use them for telecommunications and radio applications vital to our society. Satellite manufacturers must create a reliable product that supports these critical functions. Testing ensures that the final product will achieve its intended purpose while in Earth’s orbit.

During satellite testing, the professional conducting the test programs must consider every contingency. Once a satellite is in orbit, it must work at peak performance it will stay out of reach of repair. Since large-scale programs like satellites involve large amounts of money and effort, the manufacturer has much to lose from product failure.

Qualified organizations such as NTS can conduct testing programs that leave no component unchecked. We have decades of experience working with sensitive satellite parts designed for critical programs. Our team understands how to simulate extreme space conditions while leaving equipment intact. At NTS, we know that a satellite launch has no room for error.

 

Space Simulation Testing

Once spacecraft and satellites enter orbit, they must withstand the harsh conditions experienced in space. In space simulation testing, NTS specialists use advanced chambers to imitate space’s temperatures, pressure and humidity. With results spanning to the beginning of U.S. manned space exploration, we understand how to prepare equipment for space travel.

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Hypersonic Testing

Hypersonic flight, which involves projectiles racing at speeds above Mach 5, is a hot topic in defense and aerospace circles. In fact, the development of a hypersonic defense weapon system is critical to national security. At NTS, engineers are creating different tests to simulate hypersonic flight, including aerodynamic heating—a simulation that involves burner temperatures up to 4,000 °F.

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Precision Cleaning Services

Debris, corrosion and contaminants can lead to outgassing and product failure, but the NTS team can assist. The precision cleaning services available from NTS address issues that impact your components’ performance. Our extensive portfolio of aerospace cleaning capabilities features services such as:

  • Particle and residue analyses
  • Commercial oxygen cleaning
  • Leak testing
  • Ultra-high-purity processing

Your project may require multiple precision cleaning methods to remove all contaminants. Our team inspects cleaned components on the basis of visual cleanliness, particle count and presence of non-volatile residue. During these processes, they also evaluate parts for their compatibility with spacecraft systems. NTS cleaning specialists also utilize multiple drying methods to prevent outgassing and residual moisture.

Our clients may request specialty packaging designed to mitigate risk during the storage and transportation of sensitive components. We can utilize three or more layers of protection as we seal and package the final result of the cleaning process. Most of our standard procedures involve up to three layers, and we can accommodate projects that require more barriers.

Organizations in need of cleanroom facilities to conduct their own testing may rent our Class 10,000 cleanroom or Class 100 flow benches. We offer these facility rentals in half- or full-day increments with the option to include support from NTS technicians. You may also request functionality testing after the completion of cleanliness verification.

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Supplier Inspection and Verification Services

NTS assists our aerospace partners in maintaining quality throughout their global supply chains. We implement auditing that ensures our clients work with suppliers that meet their standards. Our inspection and verification services promote uniformity, stability and profitability in your manufacturing. You may request our assistance in any of the following aspects of production:

  • Development of internal processes
  • Acquisition of raw materials and machinery
  • Finished product quality projected from early-stage production results
  • First article inspections to confirm accordance with initial drawings
  • Container loading, packaging and storage

When you develop a project meant for use in outer space, you need results that promote efficiency, safety and compliance. Our verification and inspection services ensure a final product that achieves your program goals.

 

Aerospace-Specific Testing and Certifications

The dedicated facilities at NTS have more than 50 years of demonstrated results in aerospace testing. We have achieved certification according to the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA)’s ISO/IEC 17025 standards. Our team can provide comprehensive compliance services for MIL-STD-810, MIL-STD-202 and RTCA DO-160 standards. In the international market, we can assist in pre-compliance management.

MIL-STD-810 testing evaluates a product’s life cycle in the face of rugged environmental conditions. By replicating the effects of the product’s intended environment, the test allows for the collection of in-depth data. During MIL-STD-810 testing, the manufacturer determines the product’s reliability and compliance. Clients may choose from 28 MIL-STD-810 testing methods meant to replicate a range of conditions.

MIL-STD-202 testing examines a piece of equipment’s electrical parts that weigh under 300 pounds. It outlines the test protocols used for all components and products featuring printed circuit boards. The test methods featured in MIL-STD-202 involve environmental tests, physical characteristic tests and electrical characteristic tests.

RTCA DO-160 encompasses the procedures required for aircraft. These tests evaluate the performance of airborne equipment used in aerospace operations.

MIL-STD Testing

 

Next Steps

With NTS by your side, you get the ultimate one-stop shop for space testing. Contact us today—and discover what it means to test at a higher standard.

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