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Risk Reduction and Process Acceleration for Small Spacecraft Assembly and Testing by Rapid Prototyping

Autor(en): M. Weisgerber, F. Schummer, K. Steinkirchner, M. Langer
Zusammenfassung: Changes due to design flaws impose major costs, delays and high risks on any spaceflight project. The later the change, the riskier and more expensive it is. System changes due to failures detected during spacecraft assembly are usually one of the last hardware flaws to be found and therefore impose major risks on the overall project. Traditionally, this is overcome by metal or wooden mock-ups early in the process. However, to respond to design changes in a fast manner and to properly explore the remaining options by building multiple full size mock-ups in a short time interval, rapid prototyping was used by the authors. This paper provides lessons learned of the Munich Orbital Verification Experiment II (MOVE-II), related to rapid prototyping technologies used during the development phase. MOVE-II is the second CubeSat mission of the Chair of Astronautics at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Early in the design process, a 3D printed structural model of the CubeSat was built to verify the CAD model, the assembly strategy, and to track down potential system level design deficiencies. By doing so, minor and major flaws concerning integration of the satellite were found in an early project phase. Furthermore, multiple design alternatives were 3D printed during the development process, not only exploring different solutions but also defining cable paths and cable lengths and evaluating the corresponding assembly process. In difference to traditional methods, 3D printing allows for a shorter implementation time span of different design options. In addition it was possible to conduct dress-rehearsals of the integration procedure early on in order to save time in later project phases, and without potentially harming expensive hardware. Due to the early integration of the prototype, Ground Support Equipment (GSE) and specific tools could be defined ahead of time. The biggest non-technical benefit was, that the physical model simplified communication of problems and possible configurations as well as introductions to the system. Display material was always available for the developing team, either for presentations of the project or for recruitment of new team members. The paper concludes with a brief assessment of the limitations of rapid prototyping technologies for risk reduction and process acceleration. Assessment of mechanical functionality as well as mechanical fits are limited due to production tolerances. Therefore the deployment mechanism of MOVE-II could not be tested sufficiently. Finally, future improvements are shown for upcoming CubeSat missions of the TUM.
Veranstaltung: Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress 2017, München
Verlag, Ort: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Luft- und Raumfahrt - Lilienthal-Oberth e.V., Bonn, 2017
Medientyp: Conference Paper
Sprache: englisch
Format: 21,0 x 29,7 cm, 5 Seiten
URN: urn:nbn:de:101:1-2017121518536
Stichworte zum Inhalt: Rapid Prototyping, Small Spacecraft
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Veröffentlicht am: 15.12.2017