Satelitte multifunctional power structure: feasibility and mass savings

Roberts, S.C. and Aglietti, G.S. (2008) Satelitte multifunctional power structure: feasibility and mass savings. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part G: Journal of Aerospace Engineering, 222, (1), 41-51. (doi:10.1243/09544100JAERO255).


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A multi-functional structure saves mass from a spacecraft by incorporating other functional subsystems into the structure. By using the structural properties of a non-structural element, inert structure may be eliminated, and the requirement to allot internal volume to the subsystem in question is removed.

The current paper describes a multi-functional structure based on the secondary power system. By using commercially available plastic lithium-ion cells to form the core of a sandwich panel, inert mass is eliminated from both the structure and from the battery enclosure. The feasibility of the proposed multi-functional structure is demonstrated though vibration testing on a single cell, and the successful manufacture of a test panel.

The work goes on to quantify the potential mass savings that may be achieved by using a multi-functional structure of this type. By varying a set of spacecraft attributes, the study identifies that small spacecraft with high power requirements have the potential to gain the most benefit from using a multi-functional structure of this type.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1243/09544100JAERO255
ISSNs: 0954-4100 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: multi-functional structures, spacecraft structures, spacecraft power systems
Subjects: T Technology > TS Manufactures
T Technology > TL Motor vehicles. Aeronautics. Astronautics
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Engineering Sciences > Astronautics
ePrint ID: 64985
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
February 2008Published
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2009
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 12:50

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