Payload Integration

Prior to mating with the spacecraft, payloads must be carefully assembled and tested in flight-like conditions to ensure proper performance. SDL provides engineering expertise gained from decades of performing payload integrations and follows proven processes to ensure successful payload integration.


  • Development of payload plans and procedures
  • Support instrument teams to develop payload plans and procedures
  • Preparation for integration (developing and/or understanding test requirements)
  • Preparation of GSE for receipt of payload elements
  • Facilities preparation (clean rooms etc.)
  • Staffing plans
  • Receipt, incoming inspection, and bonded storage of payload elements
  • Execution of payload integration procedures
    • Handling of flight hardware
    • Management of contamination
    • Integration of flight elements into an integrated payload
    • Post integration testing
    • Quality assurance functions (before, during, and after integration)
    • Configuration management
    • Failure review procedures
    • Documentation of as-run procedures and tests
  • Final checkout and verification of payload performance prior to environmental testing
  • Integration capabilities:
    • Clean rooms
    • Precision cleaning facilities
    • Outgassing testing to NASA standards
    • Contamination monitoring
    • Large equipment handling capability
    • Optical diagnostic equipment
    • 3D printing payload components

Benefits of Using 3D Printing for I&T

  • Significantly reduces payload integration time, cost, and risk
  • Enables:
    • Payload-level integration preparation to be performed concurrently with instrument level integration and test
    • Integration procedure development based on a completed payload mockup
    • Early identification of possible integration issues such as:
      • Tool clearances
      • Hardware interference issues
      • Access for integration processes (mating connectors, taping blankets, etc.)
      • Access for install/remove before flight hardware
    • Optimizing integration order to minimize risk to flight hardware
  • Useful for:
    • Component and process validation such as verification of MLI templates, cable lengths, and cable tie-down locations
    • Identifying ground support equipment needed (e.g. hoists, slings, special tooling)
    • A reference model for troubleshooting issues throughout the I&T process
    • Illustrating approaches and issues to team members and during reviews



Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer

The WISE cryogenically-cooled infrared telescope provided a complete stellar infrared map more than 1,000 times more detailed than previous surveys.


Geosynchronous Imaging Fourier Transform Spectrometer

GIFTS was successfully tested and calibrated as an engineering demonstration unit to ground-validate technologies critical to NOAA’s Hyperspectral Environmental Suite for the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system.


Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry

SABER, a 10-channel infrared (1.27 to 16.9 µm) radiometer, is one of four instruments on NASA's TIMED mission, which is dedicated to study the dynamics of the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) portion of the Earth's atmosphere.


Cryogenic Infrared Radiance Instrumentation for Shuttle

CIRRIS-1A’s goal was to obtain simultaneous spectral and spatial measurements of atmospheric emissions, including airglow and auroral phenomenology.


Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere Solar Occultation for Ice Experiment

SOFIE is one of three instruments aboard the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite. AIM’s objective is to study polar mesospheric clouds and the environment in which they form.


Spatial Infrared Imaging Telescope

SPIRIT III was the infrared sensor aboard MDA’s Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX). This long-wave infrared instrumentation package consisted of a high spatial resolution radiometer, a high spectral resolution interferometer-spectrometer, and an extremely high-off-axis-rejection telescope.


Ionospheric Connection Explorer

NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission will explore how both terrestrial and space weather affect conditions in the ionosphere.