Before its launch, RADARSAT-2 underwent numerous spacecraft configurations and systems tests in order to ensure that its seven-year mission unfolds without a hitch. It is the David Florida Laboratory (DFL), Canada's world-class spacecraft assembly, integration, and testing facility, operated by the Canadian Space Agency, which assembles all the pieces of the spacecraft and performs the required tests.
These trials, to which the satellites are subjected, range from thermal vacuum/thermal balance, to vibration, radio frequency and mass properties measurements.
As the various parts of the satellite are delivered, they are integrated with the systems and subsystems to verify compatibility. Tests are performed to simulate various operational scenarios and make sure that the spacecraft functions as required.
With a baseline set of test data, a simulated Payload Panel is then introduced and integrated with the bus. This gives a configuration that can be used for thermal testing, including thermal balance and thermal vacuum tests. These verify the performance of the spacecraft under the extreme thermal conditions of space.
When the SAR Antenna Panel pairs are delivered to DFL, the extendible support structure is integrated with the each SAR antenna panel pair to form the two SAR antenna wings.
With the delivery and integration of the actual payload electronics, there is a series of bus-to-payload interface tests and a second thermal vacuum test.
Once the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) wings are integrated and tested with the spacecraft, there is an electromagnetic compatibility test and a limited integrated system test. The integration of the solar arrays completes the spacecraft assembly.
DFL then performs radio frequency, structural, and thermal qualification testing of space hardware and related ground components. Vibration and acoustic tests are performed. Post environmental testing also takes place to ensure that the spacecraft has suffered no damage as a result of the environmental exposures. This includes deployments of the wings, a complete integrated system test, and the spacecraft operations validation test.
When these tests are concluded, final launch preparation activities are done to verify launch-site performance, mass properties, alignments, and the propulsion system. The spacecraft is then ready for shipment to the launch site.