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Perspectives on Structural Design and Testing

of Satellites

M. Papadopoulos
Structural Mechanics Subdivision

Vehicle Systems Division


June 21–23, 2016

© The Aerospace Corporation 2016


2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Outline

• Background

• Test Strategy

• Test Objectives

• Test Success Criteria

• Case Study

• Conclusions

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Background

• Pre-test structural analysis informs test effectiveness


– Analysis must encompass all planned mechanical environment tests

• Structural testing satisfies verification requirements


– Test programs typically have multiple verification objectives
– Test success criteria established to meet all test objectives

• Confirm requirements on stiffness

• Confirm requirements on strength and structural stability


– Confirm design robustness (for multiple builds)
– Verify manufacturing processes (e.g., assembly procedures, material
defects) are adequate for the flight environment (for each flight build)

• Acquire data to validate analytic model predictions


Reliability for mission success requires flight design/pre-test analysis and structural
testing
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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Strategy

• Establish a structural qualification test plan commensurate with program


objectives
– Qualification (non-flight article built to flight or flight-like standards)
– Proto-qualification (flight article)

Design and Test Test Design Factors Test Objectives


Strategy Factor Yield Ultimate

Qualification Level: 1.25 1.1 1.25 - No failure at ultimate load level (1.25x)
Test on dedicated - No detrimental deformation or damage
(non-flight) article at 1.1 x limit load
Proto-Qualification 1.25 1.25 1.40 - No detrimental deformation or damage
Level: Test on flight at 1.25x limit load
article

• Understand objectives and test flow of all planned mechanical tests


– Test hardware can be damaged at any point in test program

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Strategy

• Design factors are meant to be used in conjunction with


– Sound design practices
– Thorough analytic modeling
• Static analysis
• Low frequency dynamic simulation via coupled loads analysis anchored to
mode survey tests
• High frequency dynamic simulations
– Materials with well-characterized allowable values
– Adequate development and qualification test program
– Validated manufacturing and inspection procedures
– Additional factors to account for uncertainties (e.g., joint fitting factors, joint
preload scatter, material factors)

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Objectives

• If using a dedicated structural test article… then


– No gross yielding at 1.1x limit load that impacts mission performance,
form, fit, or function
– No failure at ultimate loads (1.25x limit)
– Note: Material yielding or deflections degrading mission performance
permitted past 1.1x limit load

• If additional tests are planned for the dedicated structural test article
(e.g., random vibration, mode survey) or if opting for proto-qualification
approach on flight build… then
– No gross yielding at 1.25x limit load that impacts mission performance,
form, fit, or function

Consider test objectives over all planned mechanical environments tests

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Objectives (cont.)

• Failure definition
– Any rupture, collapse, or excessive deformation which prevents
any portion of the structure from sustaining the specified test load

• AIAA S-110-2005/MIL-HDBK 340 standards includes primary and


secondary structure as part of structural failure

What is failure? Failure applies to primary load carrying and secondary structure.

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Success Criteria
• At max test load (1.25x) for qualification article
– Required test article input load is achieved
– Stable test article response(s) (displacement or strain) at max input load
– ‘Zero’ residual displacement/strain upon removal of input load
– No unusual sounds during testing
– Other requirements deemed necessary due to specific article under test

• At yield test load (1.1x) for qualification article


– Establish limits on stiffness change (or frequency shift, as appropriate)*
– Visual examination indicates no sign of damage or debris
– Fasteners do not lose preload
– Functional or performance tests meet requirements

*Not a pass/fail criterion but used for evaluative screening


Develop success criteria appropriate for the qualification test article

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Test Success Criteria (cont.)
• At max test load for protoqualification article
– Required test article input load is achieved
– Stable test article response(s) (displacement or strain) at max input load
– ‘Zero’ residual displacement/strain upon removal of input load
– Establish limits on stiffness change (or frequency shift, as appropriate)
– Visual examination indicates no sign of damage or debris
– Fasteners do not lose preload
– No unusual sounds during testing
– Functional or performance tests meet requirements
– Other requirements deemed necessary due to specific article under test

Develop success criteria appropriate for the proto-qualification test article

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Case Study
• Structural qualification test of a small satellite attached to the separation
system

• Build and test qualification test article


– Sine burst
– Random vibration
Both

• Program defined test objective


– No primary structure collapse at ultimate load (1.25x)

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Case Study: Results

• No primary structure collapse at ultimate load 


• External visual examination of primary structure 

• Noise ‘rattling’ during health checks


– Internal visual examination revealed numerous
secondary structure (bracket and fastener) Not part of
interface failures during random vibration test test objective
– In-situ repair initiated

Did qualification test satisfy tenets of structural design and testing?

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Case Study: Results (cont.)
A closer look
• Little to no pre-test structural analysis (resource constrained)

• No program defined test success criteria

• Test objective: “No primary structure collapse at ultimate load”

Secondary structure should Should be no gross yielding at


have been included ultimate load due to requirement for
subsequent vibration test

• In-situ repair of secondary structure interfaces during random vibration


test implemented, but prior test axis not repeated to confirm integrity
of fix

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Case Study: Results (cont.)
A closer look

• Frequency shifts noted post-sine burst and post-random vibration


– Frequency data collected but may not have been examined in detail
– Primary structure frequency in axis 1 continued to decrease from sine
burst to random vibration
– Frequency shifts attributed to separation system behavior but never fully
vetted

Test Frequency shift (%) Frequency shift (%) Comments


sequence due to sine burst due to random
Axis 1 -7 -5 Primary mode
Axis 2 -2 +2 Primary mode
Axis 3 0 +5 Primary mode

Evaluate all collected data before assessing test success

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2016 Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Dynamic Environments Workshop
June 21-23, 2016
Conclusions

• Define a qualification test program consistent with program objectives


– A dedicated qualification article can be damaged in structural testing
– Develop test plan flow to support test objectives
– Develop test success criteria to support test objectives

• Test objectives must be developed in aggregate over all planned


mechanical tests
– Primary and secondary structure failure should be considered

• Use perceptive test success criteria


– Establish limits on stiffness change (or frequency shift, as appropriate)

Successful structural design includes consideration of all design and test requirements

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Thank you

© The Aerospace Corporation 2016