[click on photo for larger photograph with sections marked]:
The ability of the rocket to survive launch is also tested. These tests include shake, shock, and bend. The shake and shock test are both done on a shake table, which shakes the entire rocket at the same forces the rocket will see during launch, which is about 13 G's of force --13 times the force of Earth's gravity. The above image shows the rocket getting ready for a shake test. Two things are being tested. The rocket must stay together during shake and launch, and all the optics, wires, electronics and bolts must stay intact and in place. A more difficult problem to overcome is the ability of the instrument's optics to maintain their alignment during launch. The rocket is shaken along the X, Y and Z axes. In the reference frame of the photograph, they are: up-down, side-to-side, and front-back.
The shock test is performed to check the rockets
ability to survive the sudden, very violent points during launch, such
as booster ignition. This used to be done by shooting the payload into
a padded room, or dropping it. Now, it is performed on the shake table
with a full G sine sweep, in which the rocket is shaken at increasing
fast frequencies. This test induces up to 20 G's of force on the rocket.