Interplanetary Laboratory Capabilities

The 6,800 square-foot Interplanetary Laboratory takes the makerspace approach and extends it to full lifecycle space-flight hardware and software development.

The Interplanetary Laboratory provides access to specialized equipment, expertise and secured lab space to enable groups to pursue projects that are otherwise out of reach due to limited resources. Projects come from groups as small as student clubs, to larger faculty research missions, and external corporate partner collaborations. Our personnel and processes are here to support the full life space-flight product life cycle including proposal, design, analysis, fabrication, integration, test and operation of space hardware and software that solve society’s urgent space challenges.

General capabilities

Open plan workspaces with state-of-the-art audio visual meeting equipment support group collaboration and out-of-the-box thinking. ESD benches with power and hand tools, 3D printers, soldering rework, oscilloscopes, power supplies, small computers, and more in a secured lab enable development of experimental electronics and structures that are too specialized for other labs to support. Our stock of small parts, up to embedded processors, are instantly available to keep your program on schedule. 24-hour access and a small kitchen allow for 24/7 testing campaigns.

Interested in a complete list of our larger equipment?

Explore the laboratory

  • Pointing Testbed

    Our attitude determination and control systems (ADCS), or pointing testbed, provides end-to-end ACS testing capability. It simulates the magnetic field and sun exposure of a satellite’s orbit. It also provides two degrees of near frictionless movement from an air-bearing table on which the test subject sits. With these three capabilities, a satellite can be run through an entire mission simulation for orienting, pointing, and critical component communication based on location.

  • Vibe Platform

    The vibration platform is a dynamic shaker that simulates the range of vibrational frequencies experienced on a rocket launch. The platform is capable of hosting up to a 6U cubesat forine, shock, and random vibration testing in a single axis. Its ability to perform random vibration testing is a critical attribute of the vibe platform, as this test is required of all launch providers for cubesats and subsystems. Colocation of the integration bay and the vibration platform reduces program schedule and increases productivity by having all of the development tools and team available during testing.

  • Anechoic Chamber

    With inside dimensions of 51 ft. (15.5m) by 26 ft. (7.9m) by 18 ft. (5.5m), ASU’s EMAC facility has one of the largest university-based anechoic chambers in the United States. The shielded room is lined with microwave-absorbing material to greatly reduce the reflections, or echoes, of the test signals inside. This controlled environment simulates the conditions of “free space” that are suitable for testing antennas and scattering targets. The Anechoic Chamber has an isolation rating up to 50 MHz..

  • Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC)

    Our 1 cubic meter thermal vacuum chamber provides simulation of the space environment to conduct thermal balance testing of flight and development hardware. The chamber is capable of hot and cold temperature extremes to fully simulate every phase of a mission’s environment. Ample electrical feedthroughs, liquid nitrogen cooling and zoned patch heating ensure your flight unit or test article will be exposed to precisely the environment you require.

  • Thermal Chamber

    The thermal chamber is able to produce a range of 175C to -70C in air or dry nitrogen purge. This chamber may be used to speed epoxy curing, provide thermal shock and provide temperature cycling of components and full spacecraft. The internal volume is approximately 1.2 cubic feet and is compatible with testing 3U cubesats and will accommodate 6U cubesats that have limited MGSE requirements.

  • Clean Room

    For missions with enhanced cleanliness requirements, we have a dedicated cleanroom integration facility. Air filtration, temperature and humidity control, controlled access and gowning provide a space to protect delicate optical equipment.

  • Ground Station

    A dedicated ground station computer with direct access to the antennas provides the capability to monitor and control your spacecraft. The same equipment is used to test the spacecraft prior to launch to ensure end to end testing. Convenient access to the ground station assures that your team is prepared for mission operations.

  • Rooftop access

    A rooftop deck with safety railing is easily accessible from the Interplanetary Lab. This area hosts the ground station antennas used to communicate with spacecraft orbiting our planet, and offers space for any project or experiment that requires a view of the sky. The easy rooftop access also permits installation of unique and experimental communication devices.

Where to find us

Tempe Campus
Sun Devil Hall
Main Entrance: Palm Walk
Delivery Entrance: Southwest corner (by arrangement or inquire at main entrance)