Country of Origin: United States of America
3-D Test: 57.2 x 44.5 x 18.4cm (22 1/2 x 17 1/2 x 7 1/4 in.)
Aluminum, Plastic, Stainless Steel, Steel, Rubber, Brass, Gold, Adhesive, Paint, Synthetic Fabric
Geostationary communications satellites, once launched and in orbit, need to operate for years with high reliability. To achieve such performance, satellites undergo a rigorous process of testing during manufacture to ensure that each spacecraft component and system can withstand the rigors of launch and the extremes of the space environment.
This artifact--a Test Interface Box--is a component of the satellite check-out station for Intelsat VIIIA (805) communications spacecraft, built by Lockheed Martin and launched in 1998. The checkout station was a suite of testing devices used to simulate and assess a broad range of spacecraft functions after final assembly. Technicians tested the satellite at the factory and then again at the launch site.
The Test Interface Box was designed to simulate one such function: The load placed on the spacecraft electronics when a pyrotechnic charge was activated. Pyrotechnic charges had a special role in the deployment of satellites once in orbit: They cut the cables that held solars arrays and antennas in place during launch.
This artifact was donated by Lockheed Martin to the Museum in 1998.
Gift of Lockheed Martin