STFC RAL Space R100 takes delivery of a new Thermal Vacuum Chamber

02 October 2015

30 September 2015: STFC Council visited the massive 44 ton STC-2 thermal
vacuum chamber yesterday during the final stages of its
alignment in R100. It will be used to test space instruments
destined for space.

Installation Team  Ral Space Chamber including Exotech EngineersInstallation Team Ral Space Chamber including Exotech Engineers

Council Ral visits new ChamberCouncil Ral visits new Chamber

Project Engineer Vishal FrancisProject Engineer Vishal Francis

Very late on the evening of Thursday 24 September a lorry bearing a
very large, very wide load arrived at R100. The cargo was STC-2, a
massive 44 tonnes thermal vacuum chamber for testing instruments
destined for space missions, which had reached its final destination
after a long trip from the Netherlands. Installation of the chamber started
at 06:00 the next morning.
Project Engineer Vishal Francis says, “At 6 metre in length and 5 metre in
Diameter it is the largest thermal vacuum chamber in the UK and the third
largest in Europe. It will allow RAL Space to test even larger satellite
instruments.” The temperature range for testing instruments in the chamber
is -180 degrees C to +150 degrees C.
The first instrument test is expected around the end of this year or early next
year. It will be for the Sentinel 4 mission, part of the European Space
Agency’s Copernicus programme, which is dedicated to monitoring the
composition of the Earth’s atmosphere.
The massive structure was built and installed by Exotech, whose engineers
have been checking and testing the chamber since it was moved into R100
last Friday. On Tuesday (29 September) the chamber was aligned and
pushed back into its permanent position within R100. STFC’s Council met at
R100 on Tuesday and were able to view this impressive chamber during the
final stages of its alignment.
Exotech engineers Jouke Schaap and Andre de Vos, who are installing this
chamber also installed STC-1 into building R68 back in 1997