Types of Spacecraft Design

spacecraft design

Building a spacecraft requires multiple disciplines of engineering. Constructing such an interplanetary vessel involves numerous efforts from flight controllers, scientists, engineers, hardware-and-software developers, astronauts and more – each playing their part to complete it successfully.

Spacecraft must be designed to withstand various environments and forces during launch and reentry into Earth’s atmosphere, thus creating a vehicle built of multiple layers to meet these requirements.

Structural Design

Structural design of spacecraft involves creating an environment-proof framework. This includes designing the frame itself as well as selecting materials which are strong but lightweight; engineers use structural designs to help reduce weight, save fuel, and increase performance.

For instance, the SNOE structure comprises two hexagonal solar arrays connected by cable to a central mounting plate which supports all spacecraft electronics and equipment as well as science instruments. Furthermore, two patch antennas extend slightly above each solar array while six thermal radiator plates surround its perimeter support plate.

Engineers must not only design spacecraft structures but must also assess and verify their integrity as part of evaluation and verification processes. This can be accomplished either through analysis or strength testing methods; most standards specifying an acceptable factor of safety for critical structural components like aluminum skeleton frames should meet minimum failure load of 1320N failure load for NASA requirements.

Electrical Design

Electronics systems are a crucial element of any spacecraft. Their performance must meet stringent requirements from other components such as structure and mechanism systems as well as external factors like mission descriptions.

Power delivery networks represent a substantial component of satellite weight, and constant efforts are undertaken to minimize size and enhance performance. Spacecraft power systems must also meet stringent environmental requirements such as changing relative humidity.

Attendees will gain an overview of various power system designs and techniques, with particular attention paid to any necessary tradeoffs for each. Furthermore, attendees are exposed to methodologies for calculating power system reliability and life cycle analysis as well as emerging technologies expected to be flight ready within five years which provide long-life, lightweight spacecraft.

Mechanical Design

Mechanical engineering of spacecraft design deals with all the structures and moving parts used for flight in space. This can include satellite structures as well as their instrumentation. If a student already possesses experience in Mechanical or Aerospace engineering, this field may be an ideal fit.

This X-band SAR satellite underwent a comprehensive system-level structural analysis encompassing launch and on-orbit environments. Its major strategies are bus-payload integrated flat plate-type platform, multifunctional transmit/receive (TR) module with additional functions of structural stiffener and heat dissipation radiator, and dedicated vibration-free orbit deployer (VFOD).

Everlube(r) 620C elastic coating was utilized on the power control divide unit (PCDU), known as the Voltage Frequency On/Off Division, to increase wear resistance, torque relaxation, interference fit improvement and cold welding prevention in on-orbit extreme cold environments. This performance was confirmed through vibration testing which showed that its three second specification specification with VFOD installed was significantly lower than without.

Software Design

Software has been one of the more remarkable developments in spacecraft design over recent years. Thanks to new tools, designers are now capable of designing spacecraft that are significantly smaller, lighter and more capable.

A new generation of systems engineering tools offer a two-step solution, beginning with screening tools that are orders of magnitude faster and more reliable than high-fidelity simulations for quickly narrowing the design search space and quickly detecting potentially serious issues that need further analysis using high-fidelity simulations in order to be resolved.

Lectures explore bus subsystem design including structures and mechanisms, propulsion, attitude sensing & control, navigation / orbit determination as well as environmental control and life support system for crewed missions. Power generation, distribution & storage including solar arrays, batteries and radioisotope thermal generators as well as long distance telecommunications is also covered during these lectures.

Learn about COSMOS flight software framework, used on flagship spacecraft, human spaceflight missions and CubeSats. It comprises modules including an OS abstraction layer and platform support package with mission-specific app software (flight apps).

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