Programme Element: ARTES 5.1
Reference nr.: 13.1TT.22
Planned Tender Issue: quarter 2, 2013
The objective of the activity is to improve automation for hardware integration tests and functional tests.
Targeted Improvements: The target will be to reduce time (several weeks) and the related costs for HW integration/functional test both in AIT and Avionics bench.
In some fields, such as microelectronics (FPGAs, ASICs), systems are designed to include features to facilitate their testing. In few seconds, the whole system is screened. A similar philosophy applied to the satellite integration process may provide advantages. Traditionally the testing procedure to check the correct integration of equipment (e.g. Star Tracker, Reaction Wheel, etc.) on the spacecraft and its functionality has a major impact on project costs and schedule. Often the same test procedure has to be repeated several times: e.g. after integration to verify correct integration and health of the unit, after spacecraft environmental tests or spacecraft transportation to check the health of the units and their harness. Running HW integration/functional tests in a highly autonomous way for several units at the same time may improve both costs and schedule.
Possible solutions may be:
- A specific On Board Software (OBSW) testing mode, allowing the Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) to load into the On-Board Computer an application capable of performing autonomous testing of the units and finally returning the results back to the EGSE.
- Improvement of the EGSE test sequences automation in order to allow testing the correct integration and functionality of most Spacecraft units at the same time.
Justification of the activity:
Cost and schedule reduction.
- Explore the current status of automation in AIT integration/functional tests.
- Comparison with other fields (e.g. automotive, electronics).
- Investigate increased testing automation solutions and their feasibility.
- Investigate the possible commonalities (and potential re-use) of automated test procedures for different spacecraft families: fully recurrent satellites (e.g. Constellation), highly recurrent satellites (e.g. telecom platforms which may change some unit manufacturer from one satellite to the other), low recurrent satellites (e.g. LEO platforms with different On Board Computer, Star Tracker etc. and with not fully recurrent On Board Software).
- Assess potential benefits and way forward.