Vibration Isolation of Launch Vehicle Payloads

Period of Performance: 04/16/1998 - 04/06/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

CSA Engineering, Inc.
2565 Leghorn Street
Mountain View, CA 94043
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


Launch dynamics are a major design driver in structural design of spacecraft and their components. Launch survival is often a more difficult design problem than is insuring operational performance in orbit. The development of a multi-functional spacecraft adapter for an EELV (Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle) which integrates the three functions of spacecraft attachment, whole-spacecraft vibration isolation, and spacecraft release is proposed. Simultaneous design and integration of the isolation system, release mechanism, and adapter will lead to an optimized system. Reducing the dynamic loads on the spacecraft by whole-spacecraft isolation will allow lighter weight systems, greatly reduce the risk that the spacecraft and its instruments will be damaged from vibration during their ascent into orbit, and will also allow more sensitive equipment to be included in missions. As the severe launch environment also accounts for much of the expense of designing, qualifying, and testing spacecraft components, significant cost can also be saved if loads are reduced. Phase I will develop the concepts and design the isolation system. Low-shock release mechanisms will be designed into the system. System-level coupled-loads analyses will be performed using complete launch vehicle and spacecraft models. As the EELV is currently being developed, now is the ideal time to introduce whole-spacecraft isolation for this launch vehicle.