Contact Us

General Inquiry: Associate Director, Engineering Directorate
Phone: 281.483.8991
Email: jsc-ea-partnerships@mail.nasa.gov

Mailing Address:
National Aeronautics & Space Administration
Johnson Space Center
Mail Code: EA
2101 NASA Parkway
Houston, Texas 77058

JSC Engineering Web Address:
jsceng.nasa.gov

Test Facilities Guide

Engineering Test Facilities Guide

Download the Engineering Test Facilities Guide (PDF).

Download PDF

Partners In

ISS with blue sky

International Space Station

Space Station Collaborators

Robotics and Human Hand

Technology Transfer

Innovative Partnerships Program (IPP)

Antenna Test Facility

    Antenna Test FAcilityA full-scale Orion model was developed for antenna performance testing within the Anechoic Chamber. Possible antennas for Orion will be tested. The chamber absorbs electromagnetic energy to simulate an open space environment.
    Photo credit: NASA

    The Antenna Test Facility is used to test antenna radiation distribution pattern performance for spaceflight applications in electromagnetic environments conditioned to simulate free space. The frequency range of this activity spans from 200 MHz to 40 GHz. The antenna ranges are used to acquire radiation performance data by taking radiation pattern measurements. The Antenna Test Facility has one Anechoic Chamber and an Outdoor Antenna Range. The Anechoic Chamber houses two antenna test facilities: the Far-Field Test Facility and the Near-Field Test Facility.

    The Anechoic Chamber

    Far-Field Test Facility

    The Anechoic Chamber Far-Field Test Facility is uniquely designed to accommodate large test articles, such as spacecraft mockups with antennas mounted on them. The microwave material that covers the wall and door surfaces adsorbs electromagnetic energy, thereby allowing the Anechoic Chamber to simulate a space environment. The Chamber is air-conditioned, has artificial lighting, shielded personnel doors, and a shielded sliding high bay door that allows for easy entry and exit of large mockups. The Chamber has the capability to accommodate lower frequency testing down to 200 MHz in an effort to bring all testing from 200 MHz to 40 GHz indoors. Far-Field Test Facility characteristics are summarized on Table I.

    Near-Field Test Facility

    The Near-Field Test Facility within the Anechoic Chamber expands the testing and measurement capabilities of this facility by providing a means of analyzing radiating elements in cases where far-field measurements are impractical due to range length requirements. Near-Field Test Facility characteristics are summarized in Table II.

    Outdoor Antenna Range

    While the Anechoic Chamber and the Outdoor Antenna Range are both capable of testing below 1 GHz, the Outdoor Antenna Range serves as the alternate facility in the event of concurrent testing in progress, or during Anechoic Chamber maintenance. Outdoor Antenna Range characteristics are summarized on Table III.



    Anechoic ChamberAnechoic Chamber
    Photo credit: NASA

    Table I. Far-Field Test Facility Characteristics

    Function Measures far-field antenna radiation distribution patterns and principal plane cuts
    Frequency 200 MHz – 40 GHz
    Dimensions Flared horn shape (tapered), 150 feet long with cross section approximately 40 x 40 feet
    Range Length Approximately 115 feet from tip of apex to antenna-under-test
    Antenna Mounting Single positioner or dual positioner
    Load capability Single positioner can handle 750 lbs. Dual positioner can handle 1,500 lbs.
    Maximum Mockup Size 28 feet in length on dual positioner
    RF Absorber 12 inch wedge on taper; 12 inch wedge and 36 inch twisted pyramidal on side walls; 12 inch wedge and 18 inch pyramidal on floors; 18 inch cone and 12 inch wedge on ceiling; 6 foot twisted pyramidal on back wall; floor absorber is not bonded to floor to allow for flexible floor layout depending on application neede
    Floor/Working Space Approximately 3,000 square feet with floor absorber removed; primarily used for test setups involving large mockups
    Test Viewing Closed-circuit TV camera mounted inside the chamber to allow external viewing of test.
    Range Access 55 foot x 55 foot back wall slides open to allow easy entry and exit of large mockups



    Table II. Near-Field Test Facility Characteristics

    Function Measures near-field antenna patterns using raster can
    Antenna Mounting Hydraulic cylinder – AUT fixed in vertical position during test or
    Dual tower positioner – AUT not fixed
    Scanning Plane 38 feet by 38 feet
    Frequency Range 350 MHz to 4 GHz
    Maximum Antenna Size 28 feet in length on dual tower; 30 feet in diameter on hydraulic cylinder



    Table III. Outdoor Antenna Range Characteristics

    Function Measures far-field radiation principle plane cuts
    Antenna Mounting Single or dual positioner
    Range Length ~180 feet from transmit antenna device under test
    Frequency Range 200 MHz to 26.5 GHz
    Maximum Mockup Size 28 feet in length on dual positioner
    Load Capability Single positioner can handle 750 lbs. Dual positioner can handle 1500 lbs.

Technical Point of Contact

Facility Documentation

Featured Engineering Projects