Research in Engineering and Aviation

PRO/MECHANICA based structural and random vibration analysis of picosatellite structure

January 2012

Author(s): Jayaram, S., McQuilling, M., & Condoor, S.

Journal: International Journal of Computer Aided Engineering and Technology, 4(1), 90-100. DOI: 10.1504/IJCAET.2012.044585


This paper focuses on the structural and vibration analysis of a low-cost picosatellite structure to the launch load environment. This picosatellite complies with the CubeSat program design specifications, where the satellite is less than one kilogram in mass with a dimension of 10 cm3. The satellite structure is treated as a combination of beams and thin plate elements. A detailed finite element model is developed to observe its responses to the quasi-static accelerations induced by the launch vehicle. The natural frequencies of the prototype were computed numerically through finite element based methods and compared with the natural frequencies induced by the launch vehicle. It was also found that the maximum stress experienced by the structure during launch was well within the stress limits of the material.