June 15, 2016

Assembly, Integration and Testing Plan - E-10

Describe the logic followed to integrate and test the various models

A. Scope

The Assembly, Integration and Test Plan (AITP) is drawn up by the Managers responsible for the project's Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT)/Assembly, Integration and Verification (AIV) and by the Assembly, Integration and Test (AIT) team. It describes:

  • the different components or sub-assemblies that make up the space system produced (instrument, payload or satellite) ;
  • the detailed time line of the activities and the organisation set up for each model ;
  • the ground support equipment (mechanical, thermal, optical, electrical, measuring apparatus, test premises and equipment) required for AIT activities ;
  • the logical flow of the activities, including during the launch campaign ;
  • the assembly, integration and test procedures (including inspections) drawn up by the AIT team, in the form of work packages ;
  • activity monitoring: the stages and key points.


A few definitions



Action which consists in putting components and elements together in a methodical manner, following procedures, in order to obtain a higher assembly that can be acceptance-inspected; it is the case for components of mechanical and electrical interfaces of the equipment, to obtain assemblies that are more or less complex.



Set of manufacturing, inspection, verification and adjustment tasks of any type, performed on the subassemblies and on the product according to pre-established procedures.

  • TEST


Operation whose purpose is to find out, confirm and check the characteristics or performance of a product:

  • either to ensure that it operates correctly ;
  • or to calibrate an instrument ;
  • or as a part of the rationale for a definition or process, during its development or qualification.




Set of fixed and mobile ground support equipment, software and tools of various types, required for the Assembly, Integration, Testing, Inspection and Investigation activities, that are not intended for flight.

B. Fundamentals

The AITP is written by the AIT/AIV Manager, validated by the product Project Manager and shall be coherent with the Development Plan. It is prepared before any assembly, integration or test activities.

At satellite level, the AITP is based on documents at higher level, such as the Specification of Requirement (STB) compliance matrix, the development and verification plan and the AIT general plan.

The AITP is a document which is initiated at phase B of a project, well before the "active" phase of the AIT (see below). It is updated in phase C/D if necessary.

AIT activities are broken down into 3 main phases:

  1. preparation phase,
  2. implementation phase (including the Launch Campaign, if need be),
  3. handling/storage/relifing phase.


1. Preparation phase

This phase identifies all the activities in a sequential order, and defines all elements or information that are useful for the correct implementation of the activities, such as:

  • the part numbers of flight equipment to be integrated ;
  • the block diagram of assembly, inspection, testing, delivery and/or campaign operations ;
  • the critical and high risk phases ;
  • the Key Points (KP), Test Readiness Review (TRR), Test Review Board (TRB) ;
  • the references of the main documents (test requests, or test specification of requirement), applicable documents or procedures, etc. ;
  • the timetable of the AIT sequences ;
  • the inventory of the necessary infrastructures (laboratory, warehouse, integration rooms, storage rooms, test rooms, etc.) ;
  • the list of ground support equipment to use;
  • the list of personnel required for the activities to run correctly;
  • the implementation drawings and documents ;
  • the configuration of the product to be manufactured ;
  • the lists, drawings and procedures for operating the ground support equipment ;
  • the lists of equipment, processes, products and components used in the assembly operations ;
  • the assembly / integration / test procedures.


The procedures identified in the AIT Plan are written before the activities kick off; they describe how to proceed for each activity implemented (assembly, inspection, adjustments, verification, testing, etc.). They satisfy the requirements applicable to integration activities, and the test requirements specified by the project design authority, through test requests and Test Specification of Requirement (STBE).

2. Implementation phase

The integration and test implementation phase includes all assembly, verification and test operations.

This phase is punctuated by formal meetings, with the following in particular:

  • regular progress status report,
  • progress report,
  • schedule updates,
  • assembly and integration key points,
  • Test Readiness Reviews (TRRs),
  • Test Review Board meetings (TRBs).


The AITP shall state the events that trigger each type of meeting, and their periodicity:

  • Acceptance of ground facilities and flight equipment


Any facility, equipment or product that is delivered to the AIT team for integration or to enable AIT activities in a controlled environment (cleanliness), shall be supplied with a procedure that clearly specifies the operations to which it must be subjected, such as:

  • incoming inspection,
  • unpacking according to the procedure supplied or established by the Project department,
  • acceptance inspection before and after unpacking,
  • an Acceptance Testing Report (ATR) and/or a simple record in the Events Log (EL).


  • Mechanical, thermal, optical AIT activities


All the miscellaneous manipulation and assembly operations performed on equipment such as:

  • installation and removal of structural, thermal inspection and other elements,
  • installation and removal of test instruments, equipment and accessories,
  • miscellaneous adhesive bonding operations,
  • wiring,
  • installation of thermal protection (Multi layer insulation, MLI),
  • miscellaneous inspections (tightening torques, integrity of swaging/crimping, etc.),
  • verification of alignments, etc.


  • Electrical activities


All electrical verification and adjustment operations carried out on equipment, subassemblies and structures undergoing integration or having been integrated:

  • inspection of grounding networks,
  • inspection of electrical interfaces (insulation, continuity),
  • starting current measurements,
  • analysis of special characteristics, etc.


  • Functional and environmental tests


These are the functional and environment tests used to validate, qualify and acceptance-test the flight model, as defined in the development plan.

These include:

  • functional tests and operating mode tests,
  • performance measurement,
  • calibration,
  • electromagnetic compatibility tests, etc.,
  • thermal vacuum, mechanical (vibrations, impacts, acoustics) environment tests,
  • health check following storage or transportation, etc.


3. Handling/storage/relifing phase

Ground and flight equipment is subject to a lot of movements and handling, either individually or assembled, from acceptance right to the end of AIT, such as during:

  • their packing and unpacking, in some cases repeatedly,
  • shipment, warehousing and acceptance,
  • possible return for nonconformity, repair or modification,
  • storage, relifing and/or issue,
  • their integration and test operations,
  • field operations, etc.


The use of photographic references is recommended, and these movements are recorded by the operators in the Events Log (EL).

C. Typical content

1. Scope

This section shall contain the general information defining the purpose and scope of the Plan concerned by the document.

It shall state the product concerned and the project to which the product is attached.

2. Documentation

2.1 Applicable documents

This paragraph shall contain the list of applicable documents, and particularly:

  • the Development Plan,
  • the Verification Plan,
  • the Definition File,
  • the Product Assurance plan (or possibly the Integration Quality Plan),
  • the test plans and specifications (test requests, test specification of requirement),
  • the requirements and the cleanliness plan.


2.2 Reference documents

This paragraph shall contain the list of reference documents used to perform the assembly, integration and test activities (project organisation memo, project schedule, standards, internal procedures, etc.).

3. Glossary

The glossary defines all terms, acronyms and other abbreviations used.

4. Description of the product

This section shall include:

  • a brief description of the product and its main subassemblies;
  • an exploded diagram of the product concerned, which identifies the main components;
  • the Product Tree;
  • the industrial breakdown.


5. Organisation

This section shall describe the organisation set up for the preparation, performance and implementation of the integration and testing activities.

An integration team shall be defined. It may be composed of an Assembly, Integration and Testing manager, AIT activity managers (mechanical, electrical, thermal, optical, etc.), an Integration Quality manager and specialist operators.

The AIT Manager (AITM) draws up the AIT Plan, organises and manages the AIT team and the tasks to be carried out in cleanrooms. The AITM guarantees that activities move forward, in liaison with the project authority.

The Activity Managers establish the AIT procedures, they coordinate the preparation and performance of the everyday tasks according to the implementation of the AITP, they update and/or initiate the records which are under their responsibility and they check those maintained by the Operators. They are responsible for preparing the ground support equipment required by the activity.

Specialist operators carry out the scheduled tasks according to written procedures, report any configuration discrepancies for each individual operation, and keep the associated record documents up to date and/or initiate them.

The Integration Quality Manager ensures that the integration and test operations are compliant with the established quality procedures, and ensures the traceability of the operations, the conformity of the ground facilities and the implementation of the decisions that result from anomaly processing.

This section shall specify the name, the role, the attributes and the responsibilities of each player, throughout the activities.

6. Integration and test activities

6.1 Integration and test sequence

For each model, a list of tests shall be established and shall specify the objective, the location, the assembly being tested, the associated procedures, the human resources and the test facilities.

A (controlling) integration and test activity block diagram shall be established for each model.

It shall identify the detailed sequencing of the activities, and their logical flow.

For each identified activity, a description shall be provided and shall state the procedures implemented and the necessary ground facilities and resources.

Work package sheets shall be used, an example of which is given below:



6.2 Time schedule

A detailed schedule can be drawn up for the activities using the integration and test sequences, including the key points and reviews, to monitor the progress of the work, and in particular to ensure the ground and testing facilities are available, as well as the human resources required for the activity. It shall be regularly updated.

6.3 Traceability

This paragraph puts forward a traceability system (documentary architecture and technical event processing) guaranteeing the equipment configuration status.

This system is based on the following documents in particular:

  • Input documents: Test Requests and Test Specification of Requirement issued by the Project authority (architects, equipment managers).
  • AIT monitoring documents:
    • AIT procedures: The procedures are written by the AIT team in response to the Test Requests and the Test Specification of Requirement, for the AIT team that will be carrying them out.
      This document describes:
      • the test configuration (implementation of specimen, ground facility and cleanroom configuration);
      • the verifications to be performed beforehand (ground facility calibration inspection, cleanliness requirements);
      • the operations to perform on the specimen, the test sequences to carry out;
      • the pass criteria to verify and the inspections to perform.
    • Test Reports: these present the summary, as validated by the Project authority, of the results of the different tests (this document may be the responsibility of the party requesting the test rather than AIT's responsibility).
    • The Events Log (EL), which is a working and liaison document for the AIT team, and is filled in on a daily basis by the operators and activity managers up until the acceptance of the product. It is unique for each model.
    • The Log Books (LB) of the subassemblies, which are initiated on acceptance. These are filled in by the same players as for the EL. This is where the summaries of the major events undergone by the model are noted: delivery, transportation, retrofit.
    • Non-conformance report (NCR): all the activity's results which do not conform to what was expected are traced using a non-conformance report written by the AIT operator who observed the discrepancy.
    • Processing of anomalies: the process for dealing with anomalies observed during integration is managed by the IQAM (Integration Quality Assurance Manager). The Integration Quality Assurance Plan (IQAP) describes how the reporting and processing of anomalies are organised (data entry tool, anomaly processing boards, etc.).


7. Constraints

This section specifies how to take into account the specific constraints related to, for example, cleanliness, the launch site, sensitivity to electrostatic charges and discharges (ESD environment), Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and operations hazardous for personnel.

The constraints must be included in the work packages.

8. Ground facilities

This section describes the ground facilities used, such as:

  • Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE)

    Test bays, simulators, telemetry processing benches, scientific data simulation bays and also the equipment for analysing test data, making the data available and sending the information.

  • Mechanical Ground Support Equipment (MGSE)

    Handling and transport facilities (slings, cross-braces, integration and tilt trolleys, weighing equipment, containers, adapters for test facilities, etc.).

  • Optical Ground Support Equipment (OGSE)

    Simulation, measuring and adjusting equipment and tools for optical and other physical values (laser tracker, theodolites, test charts, prisms, infrared equipment, integrating spheres, collimators, etc.).

  • Test premises and facilities

    Description of the locations where AIT activities are performed: premises, cleanrooms and associated logistics, requisite level of cleanliness: these facilities are necessary for running the tests. They have to be taken into account by the AIT team in the activity integration and preparation sequence.


9. Technologies

This section shall describe the validation logic for the technologies and processes, particularly for critical technologies.

10. Risks

This section shall identify the major risks and risk reduction actions deployed for removing uncertainties concerning performance, critical points, procurement, cleanliness, etc.

Key inspection points (securing actions) shall be defined on items considered to be critical, prior to loss of accessibility, and/or monitoring.

Activities / documentation

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