Optimization of Spacecraft Metallic Primary Structure with OptiStruct

Spacecraft primary structure is designed to react all the major loads imparted on a spacecraft. Inadequately designed or tested primary structure can result in structure failure during launch and endanger mission success. To maximize the useful payload to orbit, primary structures are typically designed to minimize mass while maximizing strength and stiffness characteristics. Identifying an optimal balance of these three design characteristics can be challenging due to the extensive number of load cases applicable to the primary structure. For this study, multiple finite element models (FEM) are optimized to define a metallic panel capable of reacting launch loads and supporting a large secondary payload mounted to the panel. To react the launch loads, the panel strength margins are evaluated and the secondary payload’s 1st bending mode is maximized to reduce dynamic coupling with the launch vehicle dynamic environment. For the optimization, the mass is constrained to not exceed an available mass budget. The primary structure panel is connected to a generic spacecraft bus representative of a typical Northrop Grumman satellite.

Presentation recorded in Troy, MI during ATCx OptiStruct 2018 on September 27, 2018.
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