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Structural Qualification Facilities

Please note that David-Florida Laboratory operations will be terminated by . Information related to this section may be consulted for reference purposes only.

The Structural Qualification Facilities comprise the following:

Vibration and shock test facility

This facility employs SIEMENS/LMS vibration control systems running SIEMENS/LMS Test.Lab software for vibration and shock testing. Their total real time channel capability is 240 accelerometers including 28 strain gauge channels and the system can control/notch/limit up to 64 channels in real time. Backup DSPCon Dataflex disk recorders include signal conditioning that can backup or add an additional 256 accelerometer or strain gauge channels.

Test capabilities include sine control, random control, shock control, sine dwell, sine on random control, random on random control, sine and random on random control, force limited vibration testing, shock response synthesis, shock response analysis, transient capture, sine data reduction, random data reduction, and shock data reduction.

Unholtz-Dickie UD4000 shaker

  • Sinusoidal: 178 kN (40 k lbf)
  • Random 165 kN (37 k lbf)
  • Store: 2.54 cm (1 in) peak to peak
  • Slip plate: various sizes up to 1.83 × 1.83 m (72 × 72 in) maximum
  • Head expander: 1.22 m (48 in) diameter
    Note: Additional free-standing linear hydraulic bearings may supplement the existing large slip table on the UD 4000 Shaker.

LDS V-9 shaker

  • Sinusoidal: 105 kN (23.6 k lbf)
  • Random: 105 kN (23.6 k lbf)
  • Stroke: 7.62 cm (3 in) peak to peak
  • Slip plate: various sizes up to 1.52 × 1.52 m (60 × 60 in) maximum
  • Head expander: 0.81 m (32 in) and 0.90 m (36 in) diameter

LING A395 shaker

  • Sinusoidal: 27 kN (6 k lbf)
  • Random: 22 kN (5 k lbf)
  • Stroke: 2.54 cm (1 in) peak to peak
  • Slip plate: 0.6 × 0.6 m (24 × 24 in)
  • Head expander: 0.6 m (24 in) diameter

MTS shock machine

  • Height: 3 m (10 ft)
  • Platen: 0.6 × 0.6 m (24 × 24 in)
  • Specimen weight: 270 kg (600 lb) maximum

Pyroshock simulation shock bench

  • Usage: three-axis far-field pyrotechnic shock simulation
  • Three-axis, near-field and far-field testing
  • SRS: up to 3,000 G, far-field, 10,000g near-field
  • Specimen weight: up to 30 kg (66 lb)
  • Far-field knee frequency: 700 Hz – 3,000 Hz

Instrumentation and monitoring

  • DSPCon dataflex backup data recorders with ICP and strain gauge signal conditioning (256 channels)
  • Kistler force sensors for force-limited vibration testing 9077 (8), 9067 (8) and 9251 (20)
  • Kistler 5010 dual mode amplifiers (15)
  • Kistler 5070 eight-channel charge amplifiers (1)
  • Unholtz Dickie charge amplifier D33 (36)
  • Accelerometers; both charge and ICP type including shock accelerometers (more than 600)
  • The Modal Shop (TMS) 9155 Accelerometer Calibration Workstation

Modal test facility

This facility uses a SIEMENS/LMS frontend running SIEMENS/LMS Test.Lab software to acquire and analyze modal test data. A variety of excitation hardware exists to excite the test item.

The LMS frontend is capable of six MIMO excitation signals. This facility provides the following capabilities:

Static load test facility

This facility allows for cyclical and static load testing. It consists of a six-channel MTS Aero ST controller running Aeropro Control and Data Acquisition Software employing HBM MCGplus and VXI EX 1629B data acquisition systems.


  • Displacement and/or control capability
  • Reaction frame design capability
  • Tie-down area on seismic block: 6 × 7 m (20 × 24 ft)
  • Complete range of safety features


  • Hydraulic power unit (main): up to 20.68 MPa (3,000 psi), 75 litres/minute (20 US gallons per minute)
  • Hydraulic power unit (alternate): up to 20.68 MPa (3,000 psi), 38 litres/minute (10 US gallons per minute)
  • Cylinders (17): force ratings of 11.1 to 267 kN (2.5 to 60 k lbf) and stroke up to 15 cm (6 in)
    Note: Six of these cylinders have integrated position transducers
  • Servo valve flow rates (higher flow rate) (4): 9.5 litres/minute (2.5 US gallons per minute)
  • Servo valve flow rate (lower flow rate) (6): 3.8 litres/minute (1 US gallon per minute)
  • Strain gauge channels (350)
  • Displacement transducers (40): DC-DC LVDT
  • Load cells (35): 4.5 to 22.5 kN (1,000 to 50,000 lbf)

Seismic mass – High bay 3

  • Block size: 7.3 × 8.8 × 2.75 m (deep) (24 × 29 × 9 ft)
  • Block mass: 366 tonnes (400 tons)
  • Block construction: concrete and steel
  • Block suspension: air spring
  • First dynamic mode: 98 Hz
  • Highest rigid body mode: 3 Hz
  • Usable dynamically inactive range: 90 Hz
  • T-slot rails for affixing test articles (14): 60 cm (24 in) centres
  • Located in Class 100,000 clean room; Class 10,000 or better readily available

Mass properties measurement facility


  • Load carrying capability: 25 to 2,720 kg (50 to 6,000 lb)
  • Maximum overturning moment of 373 Nm (3300 lb-in)
  • Rotational speed: up to 200 RPM
  • Measures static imbalance: centre of gravity (CG) with an accuracy of 0.1%
  • Measures dynamic imbalance: products of inertia (POI)
  • Measures moments of inertia (MOI) ranging from 0.1 to 1,500 slug ft squared with an accuracy of 0.1%
  • Measures CG, POI, and MOI in three axes with appropriate fixturing
  • Provides accurate measurement of POI at low speeds with an accuracy of 1.0%
  • Calculates the required balance weights
  • Optimizes balance weights to the minimum required
  • Re-computes balance weights for dedicated locations
  • Manipulates data relative to test article's axes


  • MRC MK VII-16 (dual gas bearing machine)
  • Computerized control console
  • Operates at atmospheric pressure and can operate within the TV5 Chamber (7 × 10 m) under soft vacuum
  • Load cells range from 900 to 22,700 kg (2,000 to 50,000 lb) capacity for weight measurement
  • Del-Mar Avionic Hydrasets (7) range from 900 to 18,000 kg (2,000 to 40,000 lb) capacity for precision load positioning

Metrology facility

Autocollimation measurements and Cartesian coordinate measurement metrology are two important methods used during the integration and alignment of spacecraft components. Various spacecraft components such as propulsion thrusters, star trackers, reaction wheels, sun sensors, magnetometers, internal guidance system components, and scientific instruments are required to satisfy a specific orientation and location in six degrees of freedom in a local spacecraft coordinate system.

Photogrammetric measurements allow the coordinate-based measurement of shape and distortion under mechanical or thermal loading. Photogrammetry is particularly useful in evaluating the shape distortion of large antenna reflectors under thermal vacuum conditions.

All of the DFL's metrology instruments are driven from a common New River Kinematics Spatial Analyzer computer. This system provides an integrated platform for the metrology instruments as well as an analysis tool for assembly, geometric dimensioning and tolerancing, as well as CAD model to as built comparisons.

Leica LTD500 laser tracker with ADM and nivel level

Leica's LTD500 Laser Tracker has both laser interferometer (IFM) and the absolute distance measuring (ADM) capabilities. The equipment is available with an external mounting Nivel level to orient with respect to gravity. The Leica tracker has a full 360-degree range in the horizontal, and a 90-degree range in the vertical. The ADM operating range is greater than 2.0 to 35 m and the overall coordinate accuracy is 10 ppm (10 µm/m).

Leica absolute tracker AT901-B, AT910-LR with Tcam and TProbe

The Leica Absolute Tracker AT901 integrates the IFM and AMD operations into an absolute interferometer (AIFM) that can operate dynamically like an IFM but retain the accuracy of the ADM throughout the entire measurement range. There is no minimal distance for operation of the ADM and the measurement range of the instrument has been expanded to a 160 m volume. The overall coordinate accuracy is 15 µm +6 µm/m.

The Leica TCam and TProbe features of the AT910-LR adds CMM coordinate contact and 6-DOF measurements up to 60 m with a selection of styluses and probes.


This facility uses the Geodetic Services V STARS/S Photogrammetric Measurement System which allows fast, noncontact, full-field, high-precision, fully automated measurements of static retroreflective target coordinates. Photogrammetric surveys include thermal distortion tests of items such as antenna reflectors. Thermal distortion tests are performed in the DFL's largest thermal vacuum chamber, TV5 Chamber (7 × 10) with the system operated remotely in a vacuum proof canister. The system is used for deployment repeatability and thermal distortion tests on surfaces or structures to an accuracy of 10 ppm.

The single-camera photogrammetry system consists of the following capabilities:

  • INCA 6.3 digital camera that uses a built-in computer to control a digital camera having a resolution of 6.3 million pixels
  • V-STARS/S processing software that uses an integrated 3-D viewer for visualizing or analyzing data and integrated geometric analyses
  • 2.8 m (110 in) long, eight section Brunson Invar Scale Bar Kit
  • High-precision resolution (0.002 inch)
  • Highly portable system that can be used offsite
  • Noncontact, full-field measurement of deformation using retroreflective targets
  • Hygroscopic deformation measurement in vacuum and ambient test including deployment repeatability or static load deformation

Theodolite measurement and alignment system

The theodolite measurement and alignment system consists of the following:

  • Electronic theodolites: Kern E2, 1 arcsec (0.3 mgon) (5)
  • Electronic theodolites: Wild T2002 (1)
  • Application software: New River Kinematics Spatial Analyzer
  • A 2.8 m (110 in) long, eight section Brunson Invar Scale Bar Kit

Rotary table

The DFL has a 1.21 m (48 in) LFW 48 Rotab precision rotary table that is mounted to a Starrett 2.44 × 1.21 × 0.25 m thick (96 × 48 × 10 inch) granite block.

Alignment stands

The DFL has a large selection of alignment stands and vertical tool bars:

Alignment stands
Manufacturer Model Height range Quantity
Brunson 230 ≈ 1.21 to 1.83 m
(≈ 48 to 72 in)
232 1.88 to 3.05 m
(74 to 120 in)
Vertical tooling bar 0.31 to 7.62 m
(1 to 25 ft)
K & E 5025 ≈ 1.21 to 1.78 m
(≈ 48 to 70 in)
(71 5015) 1.91 m to 3.82
(75 to 150 in)

NRC ARC acoustics test facility

Critical to the dynamic qualification phase of many space programs is the effect of acoustically induced vibration in spacecraft structures. The DFL assists in the conduct of these tests in collaboration with the Aerospace Research Center (ARC) of the National Research Council of Canada, located in Ottawa.

The Institute for Aerospace Research maintains a large, high-intensity noise, acoustic test facility for development, qualification, and acceptance testing of space hardware to support industry and other government departments. This is a unique national facility in which aerospace structures and equipment may be subjected to an environment of intense noise, thereby simulating the effect of rocket and jet engines or high-speed aerodynamic flows.

The facility uses a large source of compressed air to drive very powerful, computer-controlled noise generators for simulating aeroacoustic noise fields. Unique proprietary noise generators are used to accurately shape and simulate high-frequency spectral bands from 1,000 to 10,000 Hz. Typical examples of high-level aeroacoustic noise sources include rocket exhausts, high-speed fans, propellers, and jets. Complementary disciplines of aeroacoustic research and test include structural dynamics, automatic adaptive control, noise spectrum analysis, and digital signal processing.

The Acoustics test facility includes two reverberant chambers and a progressive wave tube:

A computer-based automatic control system accurately controls the spectrum input to the chamber.

360° video of the Structural Qualification Facilities

360° video of the Structural Qualification Facilities

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