Satellite AIT (assembly, integration and testing) tools and processes can make or break a mission.
Engineers must perform various assembly, validation/qualification tests, and several checks for final integration (before launch) of a satellite in order to minimize the chances of failure.
As the number of satellite integrators and mission teams around the world has grown, there has been a corresponding increase in the number of products and services available on the market to assist in these processes.
Click on the links below to see individual offers on the market today to help your mission cross the qualification finish line:
An overview of satellite AIT procedures
Satellites are expensive, complex, and precisely engineered systems that require high levels of accuracy in their integration, calibration, and testing.
It is also more and more common for individual subsystems, payloads, connectors, and components to be purchased from different suppliers around the world. And manufacturers may use different standards, engineering conventions, and qualification approaches that all need to be
There are many areas of testing and qualification that make up an effective satellite AIT processes, such as:
- Basic interoperability and operational testing (e.g. can deployable systems operate properly in a complete satellite? Is the power system operational for every system element? Is the full data processing architecture operating as expected? Is
- Electromagnetic compatibility between components and subsystems
- Vibrational assessments (e.g. for launch and deployment steps)
- Environment-related testing (for both launch and in-orbit operations) such as thermal/temperature and vacuum testing (often combined in thermal vacuum chamber (TVAC) testing)
Common spacecraft and satellite AIT questions
Here are a few answers to some common questions on the topic of satellite AIT.
What does AIT stand for in space?
AIT stands for assembly, integration and test (or testing). It refers to a collection of processes that any satellite or spacecraft must undergo in order to be fully prepared for launch and operation in space.
What is assembly, integration and test?
The assembly, integration and test phases of a space system encompass the final construction, organization, connection, alignment, and calibration of all hardware, followed by a multi-stage analysis of how it performs in the conditions it will experience in launch, deployment, and orbit (or other route).
What is the meaning of AIT in testing?
As mentioned, the direct meaning of AIT in testing is assembly, integration and test (or testing). But more broadly, it means that testing the performance and quality of any system developed is the responsibility of the manufacturer/integrator.
On the other hand, qualification to certain standards, representing suitability for use in a particular mission or program, is also the shared responsibility of the body in charge of the mission or program.
In other words, for your system to be suitable for a NASA mission for example, it must satisfy your satellite AIT operational requirements as well as the standards that NASA has set for project, and for which they are responsible for testing and approving.