Design and optimization of the ECOSat satellite requirements and integration: a trade study analysis of vibrational, thermal, and integration constraints




Curran, Justin Thomas

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This thesis presents the design of a working and testable satellite with particular emphasis on the electrical, mechanical, and thermal modelling and performance issues for the ECOSat project in the framework of the Canadian Satellite Design Competition. In order of importance, based on the design challenges for the satellite structure were the dynamics modelling and analysis, thermal modeling and analysis, and assembly and integration modeling. Both the dynamics and thermal modeling of the satellite were completed using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in NX with the NASTRAN solver. The dynamic analysis study was performed first since it has the primary design driver for the structure. These frequencies are of concern due to the 90 Hz or greater fundamental frequency requirement for each axis. The dynamic modes of the satellite structure had the largest influence not only on the design of the structure but also its interface to the electronic systems as these had to meet the required testing qualification levels. It was found that the first fundamental frequency appeared near 200 Hz in the XY plane of the structure. The second study performed was on the thermal modeling of the satellite both for extreme operating conditions in “Hot” and “Cold” cases. Operational limiting cases were identified for the batteries in the cold and hot case study, and the power amplifier for the transmitter was identified for the hot case study. For the batteries to perform satisfactorily for the cold and hot case problem, a metal bracket with an electric heater was added to the design. The heaters were added to the design as a resistive heating element, the additional thermal coupling from the bracket improved heat transfer during the hot case. A trade study analysis was conducted for the power amplifier. Here, a bi directional heat spreader made of pyrolytic graphite attached to a frame member with high thermal inertia was chosen as the optimal solution. Finally, the third study performed tested the interface and clearance requirements of the satellite. The synergistic integration of the electrical and mechanical systems required significant attention in order to ensure the successful assembly, integration, and testing of the two systems. The investigation focused on the cabling assemblies of the satellite. Several design iterations were required for the power regulation, transmitter, receiver, modem, and onboard computer systems. Detailed assembly drawings were created for the cabling assembly fabrication prior to the final integration of the electrical and mechanical systems. The performance simulations show that the satellite systems meet or exceed the required launch qualification tests as well as the thermal cycling requirements for all systems and their components to operate within the manufacturer specified values. Once completely assembled and launched into orbit, the satellite should be able to perform and within its operational and mission requirements in both a sun synchronous or polar orbit at a range of altitudes.



Small Satellite, Ground Vibration Testing, Thermal Modeling, CubeSat, Satellite Integration, Dynamics Modeling, ECOSat, CSDC