Tests are conducted at all these
facilities using state-of-the-art LMS SCADAS data acquisition hardware
and LMS Test.Lab control and data-reduction software.
addition of an expanded data acquisition system at Cannes, the 1,200+
total channel count for all three AITs ranks Thales Alenia among the
most powerful distributed LMS test system for any company in the world.
signal capacity, high speed, flexibility and versatility of this LMS
system are key to the success of the company in these enormous
Each center is autonomous, with vibration,
acoustic and other environmental test capabilities geared toward
particular applications. The Cannes center can accommodate major
subsystems, large antennas and solar array, and satellites up to 6
tons, while the Rome facility is limited to 3 tons and Toulouse is
mainly targeted at testing components such as electronic equipment and
antennas. LMS systems are also used for more specialized tests at these
centers. At the Rome facility, for example, shock loading experienced
by satellites due to separation of rocket stages is duplicated on a
shaker table controlled by the LMS system, which also triggers a
high-speed camera recording structural response of the satellite.
can perform tests for their own individual outside contracts as well as
work in concert with other Thales Alenia Space centers on major
projects such as Globalstar and the Galileo and EGNOS navigation
satellites, as well as the Herschel, Planck and Mars Express scientific
“Standardizing on LMS testing solutions is
advantageous,” said Jean-Charles Delambre, vibration and mechanical
testing expert at Thales Alenia Space Cannes Dynamic Test Facility.
“Our test systems are entirely compatible with those at our largest
customer – ESA (European Space Agency) since they also use LMS
So we can readily ensure that our test procedures
are done according to their standards. And we can easily exchange
results data, technical information and best practices related to the
many satellite projects we work on for them. Also, our engineers can
easily work at any of our three sites thanks to the uniformity of the
Their proficiency on the system easily
transfers between the different Thales Alenia Space organizations – as
well as outside partners like ESA. This standardization really shows
its added-value when coordinating work and performing tests efficiently
on large joint projects such as Globalstar.”
Well-choreographed concurrent engineering
meet these demands, we use a ‘technical island’ approach where teams of
people converge at the test site to get the job done as quickly as
possible – technicians for set-up, control, and data acquisition as
well as facilities engineers, shaker specialists and instrumentation
Daniele Tiani, Head of Mechanical Test Dept IU_AIT
in Rome, noted that teams can run tests so quickly – push the limits,
so to speak – because of the confidence they have in the LMS system. As
tests are being conducted, measurements are compared with prescribed
limits and tests are automatically aborted via a control loop that
triggers an end-test command that gradually scales down vibration input.
tests controlled by the LMS system, we know that fragile and expensive
satellite components and subsystems will be safe as the test sequence
is performed exactly as intended,” he noted. “With less reliable
systems, tests must proceed more deliberatively as engineers slowly
ramp up test amplitudes to make sure there is no risk to the test
specimen. This confidence in test control and reliability is a huge
advantage of the LMS system.”
LMS capability that can compress test cycles is parallel processing to
analyze measurement data in near real time, displaying results for
critical channels as tests are being run and providing full results
almost immediately after the conclusion of a test.
results so fast, engineers can quickly spot any inconsistencies and
make immediate corrections – even in the middle of a test run,” Mr.
Tiani explained. “This saves hours – and often days – of precious time
that they would otherwise have to spend waiting for results, only to
discover a problem that would mean re-running the entire test.”
time is saved through the use of the LMS patch panel capability, which
can avoid the time-consuming repetition of connecting, disconnecting
and double-checking hundreds of accelerometer cables as the satellite
is moved from pre-test into the test area. This helps streamline the
procedure of splitting up an extensive test into segments because not
enough channels are available to run the test in its entirety. “With
patch panels pre-wired to route signals to appropriate slots of the LMS
SCADAS equipment by way of just a few master cables, we can now
reconfigure connections in just a few hours instead of what used to
take four days or more,” explained Mr. Tiani.
Competitive value of proven capabilities
these capabilities, Thales Alenia Space has become a powerhouse in the
worldwide space industry. “Clearly, there is a competitive value for
Thales Alenia Space to be standardized on test systems from LMS, which
is recognized for its technology and its outstanding customer service.
In an industry such as satellite development and testing where
performance, reliability and compatibility of digital systems are
critical, the trend toward LMS as the de facto standard across the
industry certainly makes sense. From each organization’s perspective,
there is just too much at stake to trust projects worth hundreds of
millions of euros to anything less than the proven capabilities of LMS
people and technology.”
Jennifer Schlegel, is an Editor with LMS International which is based at Researchpark Z1, Interleuvenlaan 68, 3001
This article being so many never thought applications of wireless communication that can be done electronically. There is certainly so many applications of wireless comm that we have not all all explored.
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