Title: Rapid, automated, test, verification and validation for the CubeSats

Authors: Yaseen Zaidi; Norman G. Fitz-Coy; Robert Van Zyl

Addresses: Department of Engineering Design and Mathematics, University of the West of England, Frenchay Campus, Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1QY, England, UK ' Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA ' French South African Institute of Technology, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Symphony Way, Bellville 7530, Western Cape, South Africa

Abstract: Bringing up of a small-scale mission assurance and engineering workflow is described. The experiences learned in the ZACUBE-1 mission prompted the development of an automated systems engineering platform leading to conformity in system design, test, and verification. The platform implements the methodology of systems engineering by coordinating diverse elements of the lifecycle and by incorporating the tools involved. The phase B/C activities of system modelling, simulations, prototyping, and design may be unified to a compounding effect and raising the level of the system view. The verification and validation (V&V) is achieved by integrating a test and measurement facility to the platform. With the platform, we accomplish rapid electrical and functional test and verification of the CubeSat subsystems and thermal validation in −20°C to +50°C cycle. The platform is automated by an application software which executes functional and thermal environment tests and provides support for requirements flow, system definition, embedded development, and simulations by integrating real-time target hardware. The platform is exploited in validating an S-band communications subsystem while economising time and obtaining valuable insight into transmission performance under thermal loading.

Keywords: automated test equipment; ATE; CubeSat; measurement; satellite; space; systems engineering; test; verification and validation; V&V.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPACESE.2019.101412

International Journal of Space Science and Engineering, 2019 Vol.5 No.3, pp.242 - 268

Received: 15 Jan 2018
Accepted: 15 Nov 2018

Published online: 07 Aug 2019 *

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