As a leading provider of industrial gases, Taiyo Nippon Sanso has a global supply chain that services a wide range of industries, from steel, chemicals and automobiles to food, medicine and aerospace. The company also designs and manufactures space simulation chambers primarily for researching and developing space technology applications.
The chambers use cryogenic and high-vacuum technology to recreate the darkness, extremely low temperatures and ultrahigh vacuum of space, enabling satellite components to be tested on the ground.
The chambers come in a wide variety of shapes (including square, cylindrical and shell shaped) and size. The smallest chamber, which is currently in development, has a diameter of only 50 centimeters. Larger ones, 9 metres in diameter, can be used to test components and even whole satellites.
Pressures in the chambers range from as low as 133x10-9 pascals - not far from that in outer space – up to 700 pascals – high enough to simulate the pressure on Mars. The temperature of a key component called the shroud, which generates darkness and low temperatures in the chamber, can be cooled to below 100° kelvin using liquid nitrogen and to below 10° kelvin using liquid helium. It can also be controlled between 273° and 313° kelvin with an accuracy of ±0.1° kelvin.