Structures (STR)

The structures subsystem deals with the load-bearing body of the spacecraft. A sturdy structural design with sufficient capacity to carry all necessary components is essential to a spacecraft’s mission success. It is also essential to limit the mass and size of the spacecraft in order to lower the costs associated with placing it in orbit. These primary constraints drive the overall structural design of most spacecraft. The structures subsystem analyzes the design of the frame of the spacecraft utilizing Finite Element Analysis software to ensure that it meets these requirements and remains structurally sound during different phases of the mission, including transport, launch, deployment, and orbit.

Nanosat-8 is categorized as a microsatellite, so it must have a total mass of less than 50 kg, and must also fit within a 50 x 50 x 60 cm volume. MR SAT is a hexagonal satellite, chosen because of the ease of manufacturability over an octagonal satellite, and the benefits that the hexagonal satellite provides over a standard cubic satellite in terms of space available and surface area available facing the sun that could be used for solar panels. The majority of the structure will be made out of honeycomb isogrid aluminum panels that provides strength, accessibility and connection points for components, and is a lightweight alternative to a solid panel.

Nanosat-9 is proposed to be a 6U CubeSat that must be less than 12 kg in total mass, where a U is a 10 x 10 x 10 cm unit of volume, so 6U is approximately the size of a shoebox. The frame of the APEX satellite is a proprietary design created by Pumpkin, Inc.