Environmental testing of spacecraft flight hardware is performed to detect design and workmanship defects and verify mission requirements prior to launch. At the space vehicle level of assembly, the thermal vacuum test simulates an environment particularly well-suited for verifying mission performance requirements. In this paper, the test objectives of the space vehicle thermal vacuum test are reviewed and an assessment is made of the effectiveness and value of the test. Recent thermal vacuum test data is used to determine how the uniqueness of the thermal vacuum test environment achieves test purposes and how the test ensures mission assurance for space vehicles.

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