Application of Thermal Vacuum Testing Online

This course is Part 2 of 2, with the first course “Fundamentals of Thermal Vacuum Testing Science”. It is recommended, but not required, for students to take both courses, dependent on individual experience and learning needs.

This is the second class on the fundamentals of thermal vacuum testing. Thermal vacuum testing is an essential component of spacecraft testing, helping to ensure launch survivability, improve satellite reliability, and establish a path to flight heritage. This course seeks to provide an in-depth understanding of the goals and requirements of thermal vacuum testing for launch vehicles, satellites and satellite components, as well as establish an educational foundation of the technology involved in conducting thermal vacuum testing. By making the underlying science approachable, this course will allow lab managers, engineers, technicians, and mission planners to better understand test requirements and determine the best methods to implement thermal vacuum testing.

Learning Objectives

  • Give participants an overview of the fundamentals of thermal control testing, science, and design for satellites
  • Describe existing in industry methods of thermal control which are used for applications of thermal design
  • Discuss ways of designing thermal control based on best industry practice
  • See detailed Outline below
Who Should Attend: These courses are designed for engineers, researchers, students, scientists, and managers interested/with a need for a detailed understanding of Thermal Vacuum Testing and its myriad applications in spacecraft development. Thermal scientists, satellite engineers, and TVAC technicians/operators will find these courses particularly useful.

Course Information:

Type of Course: Instructor-Led Short Course
Course Length: 1 day
AIAA CEU's available: Yes


1. Introduction to testing requirements and goals

1.1. The TV test goals

1.1.1. verify performance of s/c components

1.1.2. Verify performance of s/c thermal system

1.1.3. Verify and calibrate s/c thermal model

1.2. Type of the test:

1.2.1. System

1.2.2. Survivability

1.2.3. Functioning

1.2.4. Unit

2. Thermal Testing

2.1. Thermal Cycle Testing

2.2. Thermal Vacuum Cycle Testing

2.3. Thermal Vacuum Balance Testing

2.4. Thermal Bakeout Testing

3. TV shock chamber

3.1. Features

3.2. Advantages

3.3. Transient test

4. Type of tests:

4.1. System

4.2. Survivability

4.3. functioning

4.4. Unit

5. TV test results:

5.1. Verification of s/c performance

5.2. Verification of thermal model

6. Functional Testing

6.1. Electro-magnetic/EMI Testing

6.2. Vibration/Shock Testing

7. Introduction to Vacuum Science

7.1. Overview of vacuum science and modeling

7.2. Throughput, Gas Flow, and Pumping Conductance

7.3. Flow Regimes - Viscous, Turbulent, Transition, and Molecular

7.4. Surface Outgassing

8. Vacuum modeling

8.1. Desorption, Diffusion, and Permeation

8.2. The Importance of vacuum baking

8.3. Pumping of heavy gasses (Xe,Kr)

8.4. Constructing a complete vacuum model

8.5. Analytical software tools

9. Overview of vacuum hardware

9.1. Generating vacuum (pumps)

9.1.1. Rough Vacuum Technologies Understanding pump characteristic curves Pump technologies pros/cons

9.1.2. High Vacuum Technologies Turbomolecular pumps Diffusion pumps Cryopumps

9.2. Flanges/Fittings

9.3. Materials for vacuum use

9.3.1. Metals

9.3.2. Elastomers

9.3.3. Materials to avoid

9.3.4. How to research materials for vacuum use/criteria for use

10. Methods of Thermal Control

10.1. Thermal Control Surfaces

10.1.1. Thermal Platens

10.1.2. Passive Shrouds

10.1.3. Active Shrouds

10.1.4. Cold Fingers/Plates

10.1.5. Inserts

10.2. Common Thermal Control Hardware

10.2.1. QTH Heaters

10.2.2. Calrod Heaters

10.2.3. Epoxy Heaters

10.2.4. LN2

10.2.5. GN2/TCUs

10.2.6. Fluid Chillers

10.3. High and Low Emissivity Surface Treatments

11. Common Test Metrology and Instrumentation

11.1. Pressure Gauges

11.2. RGA

11.3. TQCM

11.4. Optical Witness Glass

12. Implementing Environmental Testing

12.1. Determining Requirements

12.2. Generating Test Plans

12.3. Test Implementation

12.4. Out-sourced Testing Services

12.5. Establishing In-House Testing

13. Vacuum System Maintenance

13.1. Avoiding Real and Virtual Leaks

13.2. System Leak Detection Methods

13.3. Generating a PM Schedule


Dr. Joshua Gurian, President, Rydberg Vacuum Sciences
As a physicist with more than twenty years of high vacuum experience, Joshua Gurian has established himself as an expert in the design and construction of thermal vacuum test solutions. In 2018, Dr. Gurian founded Rydberg Vacuum Sciences, Inc., a space simulation systems manufacturer focused on providing high quality thermal vacuum environments tailored to the needs of the small satellite community. Since earning his PhD in physics from the University of Virginia in 2010, Dr. Gurian has applied his scientific knowledge and expertise towards a wide variety of complex problems, from novel space simulation systems to advanced optical coatings for ground and space-based telescope systems. Prior to founding RVS, Dr. Gurian was the Senior Scientist at Dynavac, leading their Applications Lab to develop meaningful solutions to customers’ most pressing technical challenges.


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