In late 2018, a spacecraft mission launch provider had a dedicated mission that included integration of customer spacecraft in Auburn, Washington with delivery to Vandenberg AFB, California. The critical payload included 60+ satellites to be released into orbit.  The spacecraft structures and payloads were to be transported in custom made wooden shipping crates on air-ride flatbed trailers.  The shipping company provided a mobile HVAC system for transport to Vandenberg but made no representation for the effectiveness, nor would they operate the system.  Our customer had an extraordinarily compressed schedule to determine the effectiveness of the shipping containment system as well as to design and install any necessary modifications. Kaney was engaged to determine suitability of the payload transport HVAC/ECS


The Kaney team performed an analysis of a matrix of environmental conditions vs. thermal control system capacity and determined hardware and instrumentation requirements to ensure a suitable environment for the payloads. Several modifications were recommended. All recommendations included commercially available items to enable immediate, cost effective implementation. The budget for the entire effort was $10,000 and Kaney completed the study under budget and in less than 2 weeks from initial customer contact.  Because budget was preserved, our customer asked that Kaney personnel be onsite in Washington to install the system modifications. 72 hours later, the Kaney team procured all necessary hardware, performed the system modifications, and performed successful functional checkout of the payload transport system.

Kaney’s Involvement

Kaney provided dedicated Subject Matter Experts to complete the assessment for the environmental control system and the containment housings. Climate data throughout the route from Auburn to Washington was used in conjunction with anticipated heat leak to parametrically address temperature, humidity, duct velocity, solar loads at various points in transit. The structural and system modifications were designed by Kaney and installed by a Kaney technician on site.  From customer contact to final checkout, Kaney executed this project in less than 3 calendar weeks. Our customer’s launch manager had the following feedback:

“You guys really contributed to making sure this spacecraft could get down to VAFB safe and sound to be able to launch. And there’s a lot of hype around this launch – the number of satellites, the implication for small sat industry, (the launch of a) 1st 3rd-reused booster…. We couldn’t have been confident in getting there to get “up there” without you guys. Thank you.”