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Galileo satellite passes its trial by noise (© ESA)

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Galileo satellite passes its trial by noise (© ESA)

Anyone witnessing a rocket launch will be struck by the noise levels, even when observing from several kilometres away. A satellite on top of its launcher is exposed to much higher levels, of course. So testing is essential to ensure that the satellite structure can withstand such a sustained loud sound.

This first Galileo Full Operational Capability (FOC) satellite, successor to the four Galileo navigation satellites already in orbit, underwent acoustic testing in July, part of a full-scale test campaign taking place at ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

 


Galileo in flight configuration for acoustic testing (picture © ESA)

The satellite was placed in the Large European Acoustic Facility, LEAF, effectively the largest sound system in Europe. A quartet of noise horns are embedded in one wall of this 11 m wide by 9 m deep and 16.4 m high test chamber.

 

Noise is generated by passing a carefully modulated flow of gaseous nitrogen through the horns, following the predetermined test profile – this inert gas selected to avoid any contamination of any delicate onboard systems, the satellite having been placed in flight configuration for the purpose of the test [...]

 

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