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Space Engineering: A World of Difference Ir. A. Kamp Delft University of Technology Astrodynamics & Satellite Systems Space = Remoteness from Earth Our familiarity with Protective Earth atmosphere 1-G environment

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Space Engineering: A World of DifferenceIr. A. Kampa.kamp@lr.tudelft.nl University of TechnologyAstrodynamics & Satellite Systems

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Space = Remoteness from Earth

  • Our familiarity with

    • Protective Earth atmosphere

    • 1-G environment

    • Accessibility for repair/inspection

  • Is partly lost in Space Engineering

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What Makes It So Different?

  • Space: different and “strange” environment

  • Demanding performance requirements

  • Complex systems

  • Multidisciplinary

  • Severe safety

  • High availability

  • Many interfacing parties

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Top ClassComplexity, Safety, Availability, Interfaces

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Complex and High Cost Systems

  • Cost per kg

    • INTELSAT: development & launch 250,000 €/kg in-orbit mass

    • ISS: 450,000 €/kg

    • Globalstar: 50,000 €/kg

    • Mid-sized car: 25 €/kg

  • Number of personnel involved in development

    • >100-200

  • Time required from initial conception till operation

    • 3-10 years

Ref: AE1-801 SE&T I

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Objective of Presentation

  • How “strange” is the Space Environment?

  • Some of the impact on engineering

  • How are space systems developed?to minimise

    • development risk and risk of failure

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What Is Space?

  • It is difficult to get to and to stay in

  • Acompletely unforgivingenvironment

    • If you screw up the engineering, SOMEBODY DIES!

  • A very hostile environment

  • It’sdifferent!

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Space: Difficult To Get In

  • Severe launch loads


Acoustic loads


Random loads


Steady State SinusShock loads

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Dimensioning Instruments, Electronic Boxes, Etc

Size your equipment to withstand the static load factors and the severe random vibrations



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Mechanical Engineering

  • In-depth analysis

    • Stress

    • Dynamic and Acoustic

    • Thermal distortion

    • Fatigue

    • Micro-vibration

    • Mass budgeting

  • Structural testing(random vibrations, acoustic, shocks)

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Space Environment

  • Kind

    • No water vapour

    • No wind

    • Very clean environment

    • Zero effective gravity

  • Hostile

    • Hot and cold

    • Very high vacuum

    • Atomic oxygen

    • High energy electromagnetic radiation

    • Particle radiation

    • Debris

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Hot and Cold

  • Solar flux density:on earth 500 W/m2in space 1400 W/m2

  • Earth surface 293 K cold space 4 K

  • No convection

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Hot and Cold

  • Without special measures material temperatures in earth orbitmay vary between –270 and +130 C

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Good Performance Only If

  • Narrow temperature ranges

    • Electronics typically –10/ + 40 C

    • Batteries - 5/ + 15

    • Hydrazine fuel + 9/ + 40

  • Limited thermal gradients

  • Adequate thermal stability

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ENVISAT Thermal Protection

Thermal blankets

Superior insulation


Rejection of heat

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Thermal Engineering

  • Design analysis

  • Thermal testing in vacuum/solar sim.

    • Verify the predicted temperature extremes

    • Verify proper functioning of equipment under TV conditions

      • After thermal cycling

      • At Textreme

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High Vacuum

  • Immediately life threatening

  • Engines have to carry fuel and oxidizer

  • Risk of “cold welding”

  • Risk of inadvertent pressure vessels

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High Vacuum: Contaminating?

  • Sublimation of materials (outgassing)

  • Contaminants deposit on sensitive surfaces

  • UV radiation leads to polymerisation of organic molecules

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Cleanliness Engineering

  • Material selection

    • No Cadmium, Zinc, Magnesium, plastics

    • Only special adhesives, and lubricants for mechanisms

  • Outbaking of volatile materials, all equipment

    • Typ. 3 days @ 80 C in vacuum

  • Contamination Budget Analysis

  • Contamination monitoring and control during AIT

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Thinking Clean, Working Clean

SCIAMACHY optical instrument integration in Clean Room 100 conditions

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Effective Absence of Gravity

  • An advantage or a disadvantage?

    • What happens to an astronaut when he swings a hammer and hits the nail?

    • Where is my liquid propellant in the tank?

  • Structures designed for weightlessness may not be testable on ground:design for testability!

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Solar and Cosmic Radiation

  • Flying through a plasma of charged particles (protons, electrons, heavier ionized atoms)

  • Typ. 450 km/s

  • How to shield or harden your electronics design?

  • What about static charging?

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OMI Instrument Proton Shielding

  • Concept without and with shielding

Ref: Dutch Space OMI PSR Sep 2002

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Managing Risk of Failures

  • Ensure project’s conservative approach

  • Track weaknesses found in the design analysis, manufacturing, test and operationsRAMS Engineering

  • Standardisation of design and development

    • ECSS: European Cooperation for Space StandardizationECSS-E-20A Electrical and Electronic


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Need for Systematic Approach

  • High complexity, high development risk

  • Little time to iterate

  • No chance to inspect or repair in orbit

  • Aiming for near-absolute reliability!

    Systems Engineering:

    First things first

    First time right!

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High Speed Line Tunnel Drilling

Complex systems, Multidisciplinary, Safety,

Many interfacing parties

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Systems Engineering Method

  • Structured development process

  • User requirements driven

  • Timely integration of all disciplines

  • Well motivated choices between all options

  • Visibility/traceability

  • Control

  • With the end product always in mind

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Space System Development Flow

Requirements discovery

Development philophy

Cost break-down

Resource budgeting

Risk map

Systems Engineering flow in time:

Requirements flow-down and traceability

Design options trade-offs

Verification planning

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S/C Bus





Remote Sensing






Spacecraft Subsystems

Guidance, Navigation & Control

Computer & Data Handling

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Web Links Used

  • and

    (sheets 8,10,13,15,16,17)

  • (sheets 8,9,26)

  • (sheet 12)

  • (sheet 14)

  • (sheets 20,21)

  • (sheet 22,24)

  • (sheet 27)

  • (sheet 29)

  • (sheet 31)

  • (sheet 37)