Ground testing is one of the main components of RST development and a basis for RST reliability and safety. It includes various tests of simulated and full-scale units, compartments, blocks and fully-assembled items.
A key link of ground testing is the country’s largest and universal set of structural and dynamic test facilities at JSC «TsNIIMash».Most of the RST items developed in the country have been tested there. Among them are such historically significant launch vehicles as Vostok, N1, Soyuz, Energia and space stations as Soyuz, Mir and ISS modules as Zarya, Zvezda.
These facilities, many of which are highly competitive with the best foreign samples, allow all necessary structural RST tests to be conducted at the same industrial site. Among these tests are large-size and civil-use design ones.
The types of test facilities are responding to the need of load simulation (imitation, modeling) under laboratory conditions. The items are subjected to these loads in operation, for example, when transporting to the launch site by road and air, launching and putting into orbit, separating stages, docking, operating in orbit and reentering.
Loading can be static, thermal, cryogenic-static, vibration and shock. TsNIImash structural test facilities allow one to conduct respectively static, complex, temperature-static, vibration and shock tests. The set also includes benches and facilities for testing the structural strength of materials, defining the dynamic characteristics of items, investigating fluid fluctuations in fuel tanks, testing dampers to suppress oscillations.
The Structural Test Center renders services for testing civil-use designs, including large-size ones.