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Proceedings Paper

Payload isolation system for launch vehicles
Author(s): Paul S. Wilke; Conor D. Johnson; Eugene R. Fosness
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Paper Abstract

A spacecraft is subjected to very large dynamic forces from its launch vehicle during its ascent into orbit. These large forces place stringent design requirements on the spacecraft and its components to assure that the trip to orbit will be survived. The severe launch environment accounts for much of the expense of designing, qualifying, and testing satellite components. Reduction of launch loads would allow more sensitive equipment to be included in missions, reduce risk of equipment or component failure, and possibly allow the mass of the spacecraft bus to be reduced. These benefits apply to military as well as commercial satellites. This paper reports the design and testing of a prototype whole-spacecraft isolation system which will replace current payload attach fittings, is passive-only in nature, and provides lateral isolation to a spacecraft which is mounted on it. This isolation system is being designed for a medium launch vehicle and a 6500 lb spacecraft, but the isolation technology is applicable to practically all launch vehicles and spacecraft, small and large. The feasibility of such a system on a small launch vehicle has been demonstrated with a system-level analysis which shows great improvements. The isolator significantly reduces the launch loads seen by the spacecraft. Follow-on contracts will produce isolating payload attach fittings for commercial and government launches.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 May 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3045, Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Passive Damping and Isolation, (9 May 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.274215
Show Author Affiliations
Paul S. Wilke, CSA Engineering, Inc. (United States)
Conor D. Johnson, CSA Engineering, Inc. (United States)
Eugene R. Fosness, Air Force Phillips Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3045:
Smart Structures and Materials 1997: Passive Damping and Isolation
L. Porter Davis, Editor(s)

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