So I had an internship this summer at The Boeing Company in El Segundo in the Satellite Test Devision. I was really lucky and I ended up networking with one of the senior managers of the test division, and he hired me the next day to join the IntelSat test team. I worked daily with other engineers running tests to verify that all the different systems and components of the spacecraft were connected properly and continued to function correctly after undergoing a series of environmental test.
Major stresses occur on the spacecraft during both launch and on orbit. To simulate the intense launch conditions we have some very expensive test equipment.
This image is very small, but its a huge table that they mount the spacecraft on and vibrate and various frequencies. The coolest thing about the test is seeing as we pass through the natural frequencies of the various parts of the parts, antenna, solar wings, etc.
Another important factor to consider during launch is the acoustic blast caused by the rocket taking off. This image above shows an anechoic chamber which is designed to absorb the waves of radiation coming off the satellite as we tests its communication systems. This test sequence wasn’t very exciting, although I did get to work closely with the Payload Systems Engineers. The last, most expensive phase (haha!) of testing simulates orbital environment.
Another major phase of testing happens in the Thermal Vacuum. It’s an enormous chamber that gets flooded with liquid nitrogen, and huge metal rods are hooked up to an enormous voltage to simulate the extreme heat of direct sunlight.
Working in the test division, I got a chance to look at basically every different part of the spacecraft and learn what they do, how they work, how to command them. Having this opportunity made me realize that I LOVE IT! I am still fascinated by space technology, and I want to keep doing it. It’s very relieving to know that I picked the right field, and I feel very lucky to have had this experience with such an awesome company! Also, I probably would never have gotten this opportunity witho