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The University of Southampton
EngineeringPostgraduate study

AACE-Astro-02 PhD/EngD Studentship: Low Cost Approach to Spacecraft Structural Design

Our Industrial partner for this project, Surrey Satellites Technology Limited, is leading a consortium of European Universities (which includes Southampton) that is going to design, build, test, launch and operate a satellite in lunar orbit. This project is technologically very challenging as requires a level of efficiency from the various subsystems, including the structure, far superior to that normally required by low hearth orbit satellites.

Another challenge comes from the cost that is usually associated with such endeavour; as the level of optimization necessary to achieve sufficient design efficiency and reliability for this type of application requires a considerable design effort, validated by extensive testing activities. Standard procedures and requirements are described in various documents issued by various bodies ranging from Space Agencies (e.g. ESA) to Launch Vehicle Manufacturer/Operators (e.g. Arianespace). The implementation of these procedures has a significant impact on the cost.

The main aim of this project is to investigate and implement alternatives to some of these standard procedures with the aim to achieve the same or higher level of efficiency reducing the cost for the implementation. Two specific areas that show potential of improvement are the correlation of the satellite finite element model with test results (that can drive an expensive phase of model updating), and material selection (usually limited to very expensive space qualified materials). However the specific area of investigation will be set in collaboration with the company during the initial phases of the development of this project.

For some periods the candidate will be embedded in the Company to fully appreciate the standard procedures and industrial practice. This will also guarantee realistic and implementable outcomes of this research.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Prof G.S. Aglietti, Astronautics research group, Email: , Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 2453.






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