7V SPACE CHAMBER

From left to right, David Stanek, instrument technician; Roger Johnson, instrument technician; Josh Drumm, systems test engineer; Ed White, senior systems test engineer; Ricky Bush, outside machinist; and Aaron Wojcik, systems test engineer, at the Arnold Engineering Development Center’s 7V Space Chamber, remove an optical bench in the clean room at the seven by 21-foot test chamber. The bench’s removal is part of a major upgrade project that began with the chamber’s demolition by Western Environmental, Inc. The changes will not significantly affect the size of the facility. Some of the improvements to the chamber will include changing the airflow from horizontal to vertical and changing the chamber to a class 1,000 (number of particles per million) clean room.

From left to right, David Stanek, instrument technician; Roger Johnson, instrument technician; Josh Drumm, systems test engineer; Ed White, senior systems test engineer; Ricky Bush, outside machinist; and Aaron Wojcik, systems test engineer, at the Arnold Engineering Development Center’s 7V Space Chamber, remove an optical bench in the clean room at the seven by 21-foot test chamber. The bench’s removal is part of a major upgrade project that began with the chamber’s demolition by Western Environmental, Inc. The changes will not significantly affect the size of the facility. Some of the improvements to the chamber will include changing the airflow from horizontal to vertical and changing the chamber to a class 1,000 (number of particles per million) clean room.


The 7V Space Chamber is a state-of-the-art deep space environment simulation test facility designed to test high performance interceptors and surveillance sensors at the conditions of deep space (20 K background). A spectral coverage can be provided over the visible to the LWIR spectral range and a radiometric calibration monitor system is located inside the chamber to allow accurate in-situ calibration of the 7V source systems that is traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Chamber 7V is configured to provide complete characterization and radiometric calibration of an infrared (IR) sensor in a single test facility and has the capability to perform all major categories of sensor characterization (flood source, point source, polarized source, spectral calibration, and mission simulation) during a single test entry. The chamber shares vehicle handling and target systems as well as support infrastructure with the 10V Space Chamber. 

An assortment of source systems allows evaluation of sensor performance over a wide range of target conditions. A 256x256 InSb camera, referred to as the Alignment Monitor System, is mounted on the chamber to provide independent source and background evaluation and target position calibration. The facility consists of a 7-foot-diameter by 21-foot-long chamber containing a full gaseous helium thermal shroud and an optically clean vacuum allows vibration isolation of the optical bench and all optical elements. The chamber is surrounded by a Class 100 Clean Room with an adjoining Class 1000 build-up area. 

The 7V Chamber has been used to support testing of airborne sensors, space-based sensors, and interceptor seekers. Since 1994, AEDC has performed more than 35 facility characterizations and sensor tests in the upgraded 7V Chamber. 

Capabilities

7V Space Chamber Mission: Characterize and Calibrate Sensors in Simulated Operational Environments

- Chamber is 7-foot diameter x 21-foot long - NIST traceable radiometric calibration to less than 3% uncertainty
- Antechamber is 7-foot diameter x 8-foot long - Diffraction-limited 50-cm optics, 1.4 deg FOV, 5μ rad vibration stability
- 20 K cryogenically-cooled liner and optical bench provide low IR background - Class 1000 Class clean room, dedicated control room
- Simulated altitudes beyond 200 miles (less than 10-7 torr) - Complete sensor characterization can be performed during a single test entry
- High fidelity static and dynamic multi-target simulation - Extensive sensor data processing and analysis capability
- In-situ source calibration and diagnostic capability - 35 years of sensor test experience in more than 45 test programs