Methodology, Findings and Lessons Learnt of the ASSET+ Study



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46th International Conference on Environmental Systems


ASSET+ is the prosecution of the ASSET (Analysis of Spacecraft qualification Sequence and Environmental Testing) study, funded by ESA to improve the effectiveness of the testing campaign to detect anomalies before flight on the basis of lessons learned from the past and in view of future project needs. Differently from ASSET, which explored several types of tests, ASSET+ is focused on thermal vacuum tests (TVT) only. It is carried out by a consortium led by Thales Alenia Space (sites of Turin, Rome and Cannes) and including Airbus Defence & Space (sites of Toulouse and Friedrichshafen), in a co-prime technical approach. ASSET+ analyzes the on-ground anomalies occurred during thermal vacuum tests, plus the thermal vacuum test plans and reports and the on-orbit anomalies with an AIV-feedback pointing to Thermal Vacuum test (TVT), with the objective to identify the variables that affect the TVT effectiveness. The typical questions that are raised, when analyzing in detail each anomaly, are:

  • What is the importance of the vacuum condition?
  • What is the importance of thermal cycling during thermal vacuum?
  • What is the importance of the radiated flux (Solar/IR)?
  • What is the impact of the temperature range?
  • Are intermediate temperatures important in thermal vacuum? This paper aims to describe the methodology adopted in the ASSET+ study, as well as the main findings and the most significant lessons learnt that have been gathered concerning the effectiveness of the TVT campaigns.


Thales Alenia Space Italia
Thales Alenia Space France
Airbus Defence and Space
European Space Agency
ICES105: Thermal Standards and Design/Development Practices
Vienna, Austria
P. Messidoro, Thales Alenia Space, Italy
A. Ferrero, Thales Alenia Space, Italy
M. Pasquinelli, Thales Alenia Space, Italy
L. Pace, Thales Alenia Space, Italy
P. Hugonnot, Thales Alenia Space, Italy
François Vergès, Airbus Defence & Space, Germany
Reiner Werner, Airbus Defence & Space, Germany
Benoit Laine, European Space Agency, The Netherlands


ASSET+, thermal vacuum, test effectiveness