3662. Minimizing Mass of a Spacecraft Structure

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Title3662. Minimizing Mass of a Spacecraft Structure
Publication TypeConference Paper
Paper Number3662
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBurkey, Larry, Cervantes Jorge, Gillis Lewis, Graser Evan, Howard Megan, Iskra Andrei, Maurer Taylor, Peterson Davis, and Williams Margaret
Conference75th Annual Conference, Denver, Colorado
Conference LocationDenver, Colorado
PublisherSociety of Allied Weight Engineers, Inc.
Date Published05/2016

The commercialization of the International Space Station (ISS) has created the opportunity for a wider variety of minisatellites to be launched to and deployed from the ISS. By utilizing ISS resupply vehicles, these spacecraft are launched to the ISS in a soft stowed configuration and undergo much lower vibration loads than in a typical launch configuration. The FeatherCraft spacecraft is designed to fully exploit this opportunity by offering a 100-kilogram spacecraft with 45 kilograms available for science payload use. This leaves only 5 kilograms for the required side panels and internal mounting surfaces that constitute the spacecraft structure. Most spacecraft structures represent approximately 20% of the total spacecraft mass, so the reduction of the structure to 5% of the total mass requires innovative mass-relieving techniques. To solve this problem, undergraduate aerospace engineering students at the University of Colorado at Boulder created FISH, the FeatherCraft Integrated Structural Housing, which achieves the required mass reduction and integrates with other spacecraft components. This unprecedented mass reduction is accomplished by utilizing composite materials, minimizing structure area and thickness, and finally using adhesives for attachments on nearly every interface. Critical components of the structure design were preliminarily verified through bending tests, Finite Element Analysis (FEA), and adhesive tests. A complete structural full-scale model will be tested under the expected vibrational loads and acceleration measurements will be taken to verify expected performance. The success of this novel design creates a new cost-effective approach to Low-Earth-orbiting missions.

Key Words10. Weight Engineering - Aircraft Design, Student Papers
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