04 Aug, 2022

Fairing separation test – an important test milestone achieved

Standbild008 small

When the Spectrum launch vehicle performs its first test flight, it will reach a speed of about 28,000 km/h on entry into Earth orbit. After separation of the first stage, the upper stage will cover the last meters in space before delivering the satellites to their target orbit. During ascent, the satellites are protected by the payload fairing which is opened once the rocket exits the atmosphere.

The fairing – a protection cover for the satellites at the top of the launch vehicle

The fairing must withstand tough conditions during launch – aerodynamic forces, temperature differences, vibrations and shocks. Like the entire launch vehicle, we design and develop the fairing and its opening mechanism completely in-house. Testing allows our engineering team to gather important data to confirm our expectations and improve the design before the test flight.

The test set-up – a premiere

With 3719 single foam cushions, around 2 weeks of preparation time in our repurposed assembly area to set-up the test structure and around 20 people from different teams involved, we approached the testing day.

The goal of the fairing separation test campaign was to test the deployment and separation system and evaluate how the engineered parts behave dynamically. We measured the vibrations during separation, whether the motion matches our models, and whether the mechanism and system work as planned.

"What we see here is the fairing – that's the very tip of the rocket that protects the payload during launch. After we launch, we need to open it so we can deploy the satellite. And today we are testing this deployment sequence", says Marlow Holland Martins, Lead Structural Test Engineer.

5,4,3,2,1… When the mechanism was activated, the fairing separated as planned and landed in a pool of foam cushions. The entire team was happy with the successful outcome of the test.

Check out the video of the test via YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxmAW6aGc58

Latest updates

More like this


Take a look into our factory

Explore our technology