Southwest Research Institute (SWRI) Partners with Acoustic Research Systems (ARS) for Turnkey, Purpose-Built Direct Field Acoustic Testing
San Antonio, Texas. Dec 12, 2023 — With the help of Acoustic Research System’s (ARS) purpose-built NEUTRON System, Southwest Research Institute’s new acoustic test chamber can now simulate the complex and harsh acoustic environments associated with rocket launches to ensure that sensitive, highly valuable space hardware can endure launch conditions.
The test chamber is the newest addition to SWRI’s 74,000-square-foot Space System Spacecraft and Payload Processing Facility, created to rapidly respond to customers needing to design, assemble and test spacecraft, particularly small satellites. A recent news article highlighted how SWRI is using its reverberation room to “generate the sound profile of any rocket.”
SWRI selected ARS because its purpose-built NEUTRON System solution for Direct Field Acoustic Testing is a standardized, turnkey package, with a highly scalable and reliable ability to mimic the stressful acoustic environment that payloads are exposed to before reaching outer space. An additional point in favor of ARS was that the entire system is easily and safely operated by a trained technician, several of whom were certified during ARS’s hands-on commissioning and handover process. ARS has also previously had significant experience testing large constellations of small satellites, or “smallsats.”
At SWRI, the high-decibel acoustic chamber’s six acoustic devices collectively can produce up to 150 decibels of highly uniform acoustic energy. Each NEUTRON acoustic device is 3.63 feet tall and weighs 1622 pounds, and all six are housed inside the high-decibel acoustic testing chamber. SWRI engineers “use microphones inside the chamber to monitor sound levels and fine-tune” the NEUTRON System testing.
“SWRI’s selection of the novel NEUTRON System to meet their Direct Field Acoustic Testing needs is another important milestone in the global aerospace industry’s acceptance of ARS’ next-generation test capabilities,” said Co-Founder and CTO Eric Friedlander. “We enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with the team at SWRI to provide not just technical support and key capability studies, but also hands-on training and a long-term service and support plan that is a cornerstone of ARS’ commitment to testing success for our newest NEUTRON System customer. The scalability and usability of the NEUTRON System is unmatched in the industry today, and it gives SWRI an unprecedented capability to perform acoustic testing on a wide range of payloads, instruments and critical flight hardware.”
From SWRI’s side, “these are not ordinary speakers that you’d find at a concert,” Institute Engineer Kelly Smith commented. “These tests help ensure that systems don’t fail, with potentially mission-critical and financial implications.”
During testing, the speakers typically encircle a test article but can be moved into custom configurations, depending on the requirements of each application. ARS also enables SWRI to test on-site, eliminating the significant time and expense required to move hardware offsite, and avoiding the risk of damage during transport.
Following commissioning, ARS provides ongoing rapid-response support to SWRI via ARS’ standard service agreement, which ensures optimal calibration and maximum performance of the NEUTRON System in a variety of configurations for many years to come.
For further information about ARS and its Direct Field Acoustic Testing solutions, please visit www.acousticrs.com.
Jon Hutson and Benjamin Rhatigan
About Acoustic Research Systems (ARS):
Acoustic Research Systems is a leading provider of advanced Direct Field Acoustic Testing solutions for aerospace, defense and industrial applications. With a commitment to service excellence and innovation, ARS delivers state of the art Direct Field Acoustic Testing technology to organizations around the world, ensuring the reliability and performance of critical launch components. For more information please visit www.acousticrs.com