Fundamentals and Applications of Thermal Vacuum Testing – Online Short Course (Starts 28 Oct 2024) 28 October - 20 November 2024 Online

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  •  From 28 October – 20 November 2024 (4 Weeks, 8 Classes, 16 Total Hours)
  • Every Monday and Wednesday at 1–3 p.m. Eastern Time (all sessions will be recorded and available for replay; course notes will be available for download)
  • This is the definitive course on Vacuum Testing from AIAA
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

Thermal vacuum (TV) testing is an essential component of spacecraft testing, helping to ensure launch survivability, improve satellite reliability, and establish a path to flight heritage. This is the 1st class on fundamentals of thermal vacuum testing. This course seeks to provide an in-depth understanding of the fundamentals, goals and requirements of thermal vacuum testing for launch vehicles, satellites and satellite components, as well as establishing an educational foundation of the science involved in conducting thermal vacuum testing. By making the underlying science understandable, 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.

The course will first provide a short refresher of the physics and fundamentals of thermo-vacuum testing. Then, after an overview of typical satellite test requirements, the course will move into a comprehensive review of physics behind vacuum bake-out, thermal vacuum cycling, and thermal vacuum balance testing.

Once the fundamentals are covered, we will then review vacuum and analysis hardware with the goal of allowing course-takers to identify the test platform needed to achieve both specific program requirements and overall mission success.


  • Give participants an overview of the fundamentals of thermal control testing, science, and design for satellites
    • Understand TV testing requirements, goals, and results
    • Understand the various types of TV tests
    • Understand the physics of heat transfer in a vacuum
    • Understand thermal control methods
    • Understand thermal models and TV test protocols
  • 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

COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
- AIAA Member Price: $895 USD
- Non-Member Price: $1095 USD
- AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

Classroom hours / CEUs: 16 classroom hours / 1.6 CEU/PDH

Cancellation Policy: A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 7 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

Contact: Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have questions about the course or group discounts (for 5+ participants).

  1. Introduction to testing requirements and goals
    1. The TV test goals
      1. Verify performance of s/c components
      2. Verify performance of s/c thermal system
      3. Verify and calibrate s/c thermal model
    2. Type of tests:
      1. System
      2. Survivability
      3. Functioning
      4. Unit
  2. TV test results:
    1. Verification of s/c performance
    2. Verification of a thermal model
    3. Functional Testing
    4. Electro-magnetic/EMI Testing
    5. Vibration/Shock Testing
    6. Thermal Testing
      1. Thermal Bakeout Testing
      2. Thermal Cycle Testing
      3. Thermal Vacuum Cycle Testing
      4. Thermal Vacuum Balance Testing
  3. Introduction to Vacuum Science
    1. Overview of vacuum science and modeling
    2. Throughput, Gas Flow, and Pumping Conductance
    3. Flow Regimes - Viscous, Turbulent, Transition, and Molecular
    4. Surface Outgassing
  4. Vacuum modeling
    1. Desorption, Diffusion, and Permeation
    2. The Importance of vacuum baking
    3. Pumping of heavy gasses (Xe,Kr)
    4. Constructing a complete vacuum model
    5. Analytical software tools
  5. Basic of heat transfer in vacuum
    1. Conduction
    2. Radiation
    3. Optical properties
  6. Thermal control methods
    1. Heater control methods
    2. Mounting and thermal interface
    3. Radiative thermal control
    4. Temperature sensors
    5. Thermocouples/RTDs
    6. Calibration of temperature channels A/D and D/A conversion
  7. Thermal model
    1. Purpose
    2. Development
    3. Aging
  8. Use of thermal model to develop TV test protocol
    1. Modification of the model – mounting interface
    2. Energy sources and sinks
    3. To conditions close to flight and exceed it
    4. Placement of Temperature sensors
    5. s/c orientation in the chamber – heat pipes, propellant tanks, loop heat pipe


  1. Thermal Testing
    1. Thermal Cycle Testing
    2. Thermal Vacuum Cycle Testing
    3. Thermal Vacuum Balance Testing
    4. Thermal Bakeout Testing
  2. TV shock chamber
    1. Features
    2. Advantages
    3. Transient test
  3. Type of tests:
    1. System
    2. Survivability
    3. Functioning
    4. Unit
  4. TV test results:
    1. Verification of s/c performance
    2. Verification of thermal model
  5. Functional Testing
    1. Electro-magnetic/EMI Testing
    2. Vibration/Shock Testing
  6. Overview of vacuum hardware
    1. Generating vacuum (pumps)
      1. Rough Vacuum Technologies
        1. Understanding pump characteristic curves
        2. Pump technologies pros/cons
      2. High Vacuum Technologies
        1. Turbomolecular pumps
        2. Diffusion pumps
        3. Cryopumps
    2. Flanges/Fittings
    3. Materials for vacuum use
      1. Metals
      2. Elastomers
      3. Materials to avoid
      4. How to research materials for vacuum use/criteria for use
  7. Methods of Thermal Control
    1. Thermal control Surfaces
      1. Thermal Platens
      2. Passive Shrouds
      3. Active Shrouds
      4. Cold Fingers/PlatesTV shock chamber
      5. 2.1. Features
      6. 2.2. Advantages
      7. 2.3. Transient test
      8. Inserts
    2. Common Thermal Control Hardware
      1. QTH Heaters
      2. Calrod Heaters
      3. Epoxy Heaters
      4. LN2
      5. GN2/TCUs
      6. Fluid Chillers
    3. High and Low Emissivity Surface Treatments
  8. Common Test Metrology and Instrumentation
    1. Pressure Gauges
    2. RGA
    3. TQCM
    4. Optical Witness Glass
  9. Implementing Environmental Testing
    1. Determining Requirements
    2. Generating Test Plans
    3. Test implementation
    4. Out-sourced Testing Services
    5. Establishing In-House Testing
  10. Vacuum System Maintenance
    1. Avoiding Real and Virtual Leaks
    2. System leak detection methods
    3. Generating a PM schedule

Course Delivery and Materials

  • The course lectures will be delivered via Zoom. You can test your connection here:
  • All sessions will be available on-demand within 1-2 days of the lecture. Once available, you can stream the replay video anytime, 24/7. All slides will be available for download after each lecture.
  • No part of these materials may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted, unless for course participants. All rights reserved.
  • Between lectures, the instructors will be available via email for technical questions and comments.
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.

Dr. Boris Yender, CEO & Principal Consultant, YSPMM LLC
Dr. Boris Yendler is an expert in thermal terrestrial and space applications. He has 30+ years of experience as a thermal engineer, developing methods for thermal management of different systems including spacecraft platforms. He is CEO and founder of YSPM, LLC, a consulting engineering company that provides engineering services to satellite operators and manufactures including propellant gauging, thermal and propulsion systems support, etc. Currently, Dr. Yendler is working on several space missions, including smallsat Lunar IceCube (Morehead university and NASA), landing BereSheet (Israel) spacecraft on Moon surface, GEO communication smallsat (Astranis), reliability of individual flying vehicle (Armada E), etc.
Dr. Yendler has taught courses at different universities and military installations, including but not limited to Purdue University, Morehead University, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Wright-Patterson Air Force base, etc. He previously worked as a thermal engineer at Lockheed Martin Corp. (LM) for almost 20 years.


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