System for Simulation and Measurement of Spacecraft and Component Vibration

Period of Performance: 02/12/2008 - 05/10/2010


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

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


ABSTRACT: Ground testing of space flight systems is a means of verifying component and system performance, developing new capabilities, and reducing risk. This research will produce a computer-controlled physical system capable of delivering motion, vibration and jitter in six degrees of freedom to a payload up to 300 kg. The payload could be a small spacecraft, or a large or small subassembly or sensor. A means of physical characterization of vibration disturbance sources will also be developed. Requirements for simulation will be gathered from the AIRSS program and other sources. These will drive the design of a hardware and software spacecraft motion and vibration simulator. The six-axis simulator will use a hexapod geometry with electromagnetic actuation and be both portable and suitable for vacuum operation. It will be operated from a user interface and will accept and export data to other ground test systems. The simulator will be delivered to the Air Force and interfaced with new ground test subsystems and payloads. It will reach full capability with inclusion of software for simulating more general mechanical impedances, for example those resulting from spacecraft solar arrays. A separate system for six-axis characterization of vibration disturbances including cryocoolers will also be delivered. BENEFIT: The motion and vibration simulator will have direct application to the Third Generation Surveillance (TGIRS) system and its Integrated Testbed (ITB). It will provide greater realism in the mechanical environment during ground testing and allow verification and improvement of wide field of view infrared sensor performance through physical test. It will reduce risk for space flight components. The companion vibration characterization system will provide a means of verifying properties of vibration disturbance sources and of comparing signatures of different components including cryocoolers. This information will be useful in satellite and sensor models. The simulation capability will be applicable to missile flight motion simulation and generation of synthetic environments for other aerospace and defense systems, including testing and validation of homeland security systems on mobile or harsh environment platforms."