Development of a low-cost method for whole-spacecraft isolation of small satellites
Lan, Wenschel D.
Newman, James H.
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Force-limited vibration testing (FLVT) is effective in reducing the low-frequency vibration test environment for CubeSats on the Naval Postgraduate School CubeSat Launcher (NPSCuL); however, the CubeSats are still subjected to high-frequency amplifications above 500 Hz from the NPSCuL structure. The excessive, high-frequency vibration has caused test failures and forces CubeSat developers to focus more on surviving environmental testing instead of developing state-of-the-art technology. Whole-spacecraft isolation systems are often used to reduce these amplifications, but they currently exist only for large spacecraft and are too expensive to adapt for small satellites. These limitations motivated the combined use of FLVT and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) isolators on NPSCuL as a novel, practical, and low-cost method to reduce vibration levels for small satellites. This method significantly reduces the high-frequency amplification by up to 97%; the root-mean-square acceleration (GRMS) over the entire test frequency range drops by up to 78%. These results should allow more sensitive and complex payloads to gain access to space on future NPSCuL missions and demonstrate how a worst-case environment on a small satellite can be improved. Implementing low-cost, COTS isolators on other small satellites and CubeSat launch applications could be useful as well.
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimitedReissued 10 Jan 2017 with corrected degree.
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