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Skybox Imaging Completes Simulated Space Test

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The first high-resolution imaging microsatellite was placed in a thermal vacuum chamber simulating conditions of low Earth orbit.

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Manufacturing Group December 2, 2012

Skybox Imaging has successfully completed the simulated space environmental test of its first high-resolution imaging microsatellite.

During the 16-day test campaign conducted at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA., the satellite was placed in a thermal vacuum chamber that accurately simulated the thermal and environmental conditions of low Earth orbit. Skybox evaluated the spacecraft’s performance in a variety of operational modes. This included a “day-in-the-life” test where the Skybox operations team simulated flying the spacecraft for 20 orbits. The test data collected was used to accurately correlate the detailed spacecraft thermal and power models and verify that all subsystems performed as expected.

“Spacecraft thermal vacuum testing is the largest and most important phase in our integrated spacecraft test program,” says Jonny Dyer, chief engineer at Skybox. “Successful completion of this milestone gives us greater confidence that our first spacecraft will perform well in the space thermal environment.”

Skybox is now entering final testing phases of the spacecraft, including integrated system testing and launch base testing. The next key test is set to take place in early 2013, when the spacecraft will undergo vibration testing. This will be the last major milestone preceding the satellite’s planned launch in the second quarter of 2013.

“Our team is the foundation of our success, and we are extremely proud of the completion of this milestone which brings us one crucial step forward in the lead-up to launch,” says Tom Ingersoll, Skybox CEO. “This marks only the beginning of our endeavors as we advance toward the deployment of the constellation.”

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