Altitude Testing

The unique challenges of using tactical sensors on airborne systems, including UAVs, requires specialized systems to test under high-altitude temperature and pressure conditions. SDL operates and maintains a state-of-the-art altitude test chamber on behalf of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for high-fidelity and realistic operation simulation.


  • Full characterization of airborne optical sensors
    • Up to three separate optical sources can be simultaneously applied through existing ports
  • Volume
    • 64 ft3
    • 4’x4’x4’
  • Altitude simulation: Sea level to 100,000 ft.
  • Operational temperature: -60º C to 125º C
  • Temperature ramp rate ~3º C/min
  • Operational pressure: Ambient to <10 Torr
  • Pressure transition rate: ≥ 20 Torr/minute
  • Optical ports: 3 X 20” round
  • Airflow inside the chamber: 2,500-3,000SCF
  • Sensor positioning system: 2 axis linear (vertical front to back)
  • Cascade refrigeration system capable of maintaining cold operation with 3200 W live load
  • Liquid nitrogen boost
  • 16’x16’ clean tent supports handling of contamination-sensitive hardware
  • Fully integrates with facility test automation and data management systems