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Ensuring satellite reliability with vibration testing

ral space, uk


RAL Space’s work on the James Webb Space Telescope required a new vibration test system, for which they chose our LDS range of shakers.

The ever-shortening design and development time frames and budgets of modern space programmes demand “right-first-time” engineering. High quality, goal-focused, time and cost-efficient vibration testing is critical to meeting programme milestones. Rutherford Appleton Laboratory [RAL] Space’s contribution to the new James Webb Space Telescope required a new vibration test system, for which they chose our LDS range of shakers.


RAL Space has developed critical components for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, due to be launched in 2018. Because the telescope will be operating deep in space, it will not be possible to service it after launch – calling for confident durability testing. RAL decided it was time to replace its faithful older LDS V954 shaker with a new model, capable of dealing with increasing payloads and smaller margins of error.

A more modern LDS shaker increased the capacity necessary for future test programmes. It is based on the LDS V8 electrodynamic shaker, and has the ability to operate in both horizontal and vertical orientations. An integral slip table can be coupled to the shaker, allowing large objects to be mounted securely.

Choosing to replace their outdated LDS shaker enabled RAL to conduct more sophisticated tests to ensure the robustness of their contributions to the telescope, which in turn decreases the chance of failures when the craft is far from Earth.

RAL Space

RAL Space is the UK's national laboratory advancing the understanding​ of space and our environment for the benefit of all.

We work with UK and overseas agencies, universities and industrial companies on space and ground based space projects. Our unique position between industry and academia enables us to strengthen the UK space community. 

About RAL Space

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