Solar Array Simulator
Solar array simulators for testing satellite power supplies
Among other things, solar array simulators are required for testing satellite power supplies. An SAS (Solar Array Simulator), consisting of an interconnection of several Solar Array Simulator modules, maps the solar panels and displays the individual strings connected in parallel. Optionally, the individual SAS modules are monitored by a Second Level Protection, so that the test object is not damaged in case of errors with the voltage sources. Additional circuitry is implemented via project-specific test modules. The signal path to the DUT can be separated, e.g. for dynamic current measurements.
The Keysight Solar Array Simulators used were specially developed for satellite applications and cover the significantly higher requirements regarding the control speed of MPP tracking compared to terrestrial applications.
The system has a protocol server for the C&C CCSDS protocol and a command interpreter. With its help, commands from the higher-level CCS (Central Checkout System) are converted to the programming of the physical SAS modules. The interconnection of the modules (parallel connection to provide large currents) is encapsulated from the user. The Solar Array Simulator acts as a large instrument.
The software is operated on a box PC integrated into the rack. The external programming interface was implemented as an Ethernet interface.