The Importance of Altitude Testing for Aircraft and Space Vehicles: Part 1

Posted: Jun 15, 2018

 Aircraft and space vehicles, such as satellites and rockets, endure extreme conditions while in flight. These extreme conditions can cause failure in critical components, which can have catastrophic results. Testing parts for aircraft and space vehicles in an altitude chamber can help manufacturers develop durable parts that operate well during flight, despite the quickly-changing and extreme conditions caused by high altitudes. Altitude testing measures a number of factors aircraft and space vehicle components are likely to experience at extreme heights. 

Environmental Extremes at High Altitudes 

Life close to the surface of the planet is quite comfortable, with generally survivable temperatures and breathable air. At higher altitudes, however, the environment is quite inhospitable. The air is cold, thin and dry at high altitudes. Higher altitudes make it difficult for animals to breath and for machines to function properly.  

Aircraft and space vehicles undergo extreme environmental changes at high altitudes, including changes in air temperature, humidity, and pressure. Air temperature drops about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of height, for example. With changes in air temperature come changes in humidity. Air pressure changes dramatically with altitude. Sensitive components used in aircraft and aerospace equipment must be able to withstand these conditions as well. 

Due to the extreme conditions that aircraft and space vehicles encounter during flight it is necessary to test the parts used on them in an altitude chamber to ensure that they can withstand the flight or flights. Tenney Environmental altitude chambers simulate altitudes up to 200,000 feet. These altitude chambers are designed with automatically controlled vacuum and vent valves that provide precise altitude conditions for consistent testing needs. 

Be sure to check back next month for part two of this blog series! For more information on Tenney Environmental altitude chambers visit our website. For more information like the above, follow TPS on both Facebook and LinkedIn