Analysis of influences of external components during vibration testing of CubeSats

Activity: Talk or presentationTalk at conference or symposiumScience to science


During a satellite launch physical forces in form of acoustic waves and vibrations are impacting the
spacecraft. The environmental test campaign replicates these launch conditions on a vibration table.
Accurate measurement results give an important determination of the spacecraft components survival or
if structural enhancements have to be applied. Especially in CubeSat missions cheap and easily available
materials like aluminium or wood are the first choice for construction of mechanical ground support
equipment (MGSE).
In this paper the effects of MGSE and other components to the vibration test results are analysed.
Shaker adapters for PCBs have their own resonances and are thus affecting the test results. On this
account, influences on the test outcomes by using shaker plates of various materials are shown. Besides,
vibration sensors are directly applied to the devices under test (DUTs). This additional mass influences
the outcomes of the test. Vibration tests with different sensor masses are therefore compared against
each other to evaluate this impact. Additionally, different DUT weights are used to identify the influence
of the weight relation between DUT and sensor. Evaluation of vibration test campaigns shows that the
MGSE and sensor placement can have significant results on the test results, especially with respect to
the resonance frequency. Additionally, it was observed that the MGSE in use showed noticeable decrease
in its structural integrity which leads to the conclusion that construction of MGSE components requires
significant margins in terms of mechanical stability.
PeriodOct 2019
Event title70th International Astronautical Congress: IAC 2019
Event typeConference
LocationWashington D.C., United StatesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational