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Spacecraft dynamic analysis and correlation with test results: Shock environment analysis of LISA Pathfinder at VESTA test bed
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The particular study case in this thesis is the shock test performed on the LISA Pathfinder satellite conducted in a laboratory environment on a dedicated test bed: Vega Shock Test Apparatus (VESTA). This test is considered fully representative to study shock levels produced by fairing jettisoning event at Vega Launcher Vehicle, which induces high shock loads towards the satellite.

In the frame of this thesis, some transient response analyses have been conducted in MSC Nastran, and a shock simulation tool for the VESTA test configuration has been developed. The simulation tool is based on Nastran Direct Transient Response Analysis solver (SOL 109), and is representative of the upper composite of Vega with the LISA Pathfinder coupled to it. Post-processing routines of transient response signals were conducted in Dynaworks which served to calculate Shock Response Spectra (SRS).

The simulation tool is a model of forcing function parameters for transient analysis which adequately correlates with the shock real test data, in order to understand how the effect of shock generated by the launcher is seen in the satellite and its sub-systems. Since available computation resources are limited the parameters for analysis were optimised for computation time, file size, memory capacity,  and model complexity. The forcing function represents a release of the HSS clamp band which is responsible for fairing jettisoning, thus the parameters which were studied are mostly concerning the modelling of this event. Among many investigated, those which visibly improved SRS correlation are radial forcing function shape, implementation of axial impulse, clamp band loading geometry and refined loading scheme. Integration time step duration and analysis duration were also studied and found to improve correlation.  From each analysis, the qualifying shock environment was then derived by linear scaling in proportion of the applied preload, and considering a qualification margin of 3dB.

Consecutive tracking of structural responses along shock propagation path exposed gradual changes in responses pattern and revealed an important property that a breathing mode (n = 0) at the base of a conical Adapter translates into an axial input to the spacecraft. The parametrisation itself was based on responses registered at interfaces located in near-field (where the clamp band is located and forcing function is applied) and medium-field with respect to the shock event location. Following shock propagation path, the final step was the analysis of shock responses inside the satellite located in a far-field region, which still revealed a very good correlation of results. Thus, it can be said that parametrisation process was adequate, and the developed shock simulation tool can be qualified. However, due to the nature of shock, the tool cannot fully replace VESTA laboratory test, but can support shock assessment process and preparation to such test.

In the last part of the thesis, the implementation of some finite element model improvements is investigated. Majority of the panels in spacecraft interior exhibited shock over-prediction due to finite element model limitation. Equipment units modelled as lump masses rigidly attached with RBE2 elements to the panel surface are a source of such local over-predictions. Thus, some of the units were remodelled and transient responses were reinvestigated. It was found that remodelling with either solid elements, or lump mass connected to RBE3 element and reinforced by RBE2 element, can significantly improve local transient responses. This conclusion is in line with conclusions found in ECSS Shock Handbook.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 63 p.
Keyword [en]
FEA/FEM, finite element analysis, finite element method, mechanical analysis, structural analysis, dynamic analysis, computational dynamic analysis of structures, shock analysis, shock environment, shock test, shock test campaign, spacecraft dynamic analysis, MSC Nastran, MSC Patran, Dynaworks, Shock Response Spectrum, SRS, space engineering, space science and technology, mechanical engineering, structural engineering, analysis optimisation, analysis parametrisation, mechanical wave propagation, shock propagation, damping, hysteretic damping, viscous damping, structural damping
National Category
Other Mechanical Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-62910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-62910DiVA: diva2:1087158
External cooperation
European Space Research and Technology Centre, European Space Agency; Universite Paul Sabatier Toulouse III
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level (120 credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-04-07 Created: 2017-04-05 Last updated: 2017-04-07Bibliographically approved

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