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Analysis & Optimisation

Enabling hardware, missions and clients to achieve more

ESR Space Analysis Capabilities

Structural Analysis – FEM

Structural analysis is an important part of the ESR Space engineering toolkit, allowing to predict the structural/thermal characteristics of hardware.  This is valuable prior to committing resources to further stages of development and informs our test activities. Using a range of available techniques, we support system design decisions and optimise performance, to demonstrate compliance with industry design codes and customer specifications.

We can employ classical methods or more complex finite element models. Where possible, we correlate analysis results with our test results to ensure that our models accurately reflect reality.  ESR Space are able to perform a wide range of structural analysis including:

• Static: linear and non-linear
• Linear dynamic: modal, harmonic, response spectrum and random vibration analyses
• Thermal and thermo-elastic analysis
• Buckling, Fatigue
• Bolted joints

We also make use of ESTL analysis capabilities for bearing and gear analyses where required.

Below are some examples of Structural FEM analyses performed for mechanism development programmes.

FEM results showing deflection and stress in a diaphragm.

Structural Analysis

Optical Focus and Tilt mechanism for SPICE instrument (Solar Orbiter)

The SPICE Scan Focus Mechanism (SFM) was designed and built by ESR Space and delivered in 2016. A detailed finite element model was created to ensure that the mechanism could survive the stresses and displacements caused by the vibration loads during launch. Thermo-elastic modelling also calculated the stresses caused by the thermal expansion and contraction of the mechanism at extreme temperatures. The structural modelling also provided confirmation that the mechanism natural frequencies were within specification and did not couple with the modes from the instrument or spacecraft. The structural analysis was performed in conjunction with a vibration test to allow correlation between predicted and measured data.

Modal Analysis

Thermal Shutter Mechanism Frame

ESR are currently in the build & test phase of the Lunar Dust-Resilient Louvered Radiator (under contract to ESA).  The analysis depicted here represents an early FEM performed by ESR to study the range of modal frequencies and to confirm the mounting approach taken.

The normal mode shapes for the first four natural frequencies are shown and can be seen to be a mixture of bending and torsional modes.  These early results were used to help refine the mounting arrangement, which included the addition of 2 extra attachment points.