Structural Attachments for Rapid Assembly of Satellites

Period of Performance: 04/17/2007 - 04/11/2008


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


The objective of this study is to develop low cost, modular, multi-functional, primary spacecraft structures using a plywood and two-by-four approach for rapid assembly. These structures are comprised of aluminum facesheet/honeycomb-core sandwich panels (plywood) bonded to aluminum extrusions (two-by-four). The structures require simple hand tools to assemble and leverage nomograph based design guides for the required structural/thermal sizing for rapid response missions. The flat sandwich panels are integrated into hexagonal (box) structures by using basic extruded shapes which are structural connections between panels. This approach allows open architecture structural designs with scalable sizing. The bonded assemblies include fastening hard points for attachment of flight sensor payloads (200kg class) and supporting subsystems. Since these structures are aluminum the basic assembly provides inherent damage robustness; EMI and radiation hardened capability; and allows for multiple levels of thermal management. These thermal management levels are: - The basic thermal continuity of the bonded aluminum panels and extrusions - Easily added custom heat straps to augment thermal paths within the bonded the assembly or at attached components - Direct interfacing to heat pipes at the mechanical hard points of the attached components. This study targets Air Force warfighter missions with satellite build processing within 8 hours.