A spacecraft solar array is subjected to large temperature excursions, varying insolation (the amount of sunlight falling on the array), mechanical changes and aging, which substantially effect both its short and long term performance. In order to test the spacecraft's power environment, a cost-effective solution for ground based testing is to utilize a solar array simulator.
As a very important consideration in spacecraft testing, discrete hardware protection systems are a standard part of every SAS. These include subsystems that can remove power at the output of the SAS in under 10 microseconds. Each SAS string has an electronic circuit breaker and relay disconnect, so faults are localized and minimize disruption of the last process. SAS systems have been designed and delivered ranging from desktop, 2 channel, R&D units to systems capable of controlling two 64 channel SAS systems simultaneously. AMETEK's Engineered Solutions Group can assist in defining special requirements and customize each system using a standard building block approach. This allows each customer to get exactly what id needed while minimizing costs.