Masters Theses


"In the satellite development process, structural testing is a means to gain confidence in analytical models and ultimately support qualification of the spacecraft for flight. Vibration testing, in particular, is motivated by the safety considerations of crew or launch personnel, the survivability of delicate hardware and electronics, and the avoidance of large stresses that cause structural fatigue or failure. The subject of this thesis is concerned with the shaker table vibration testing of a microsatellite pair designed and built by students at the Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla, Missouri. A finite element model (FEM) used in structural response predictions has been formulated for the satellite, and it is the goal of these tests to verify the accuracy of the model and identify any design issues that might result in mechanical or structural damage to the spacecraft or space vehicle during flight. An introduction to environmental vibration research in the space industry is presented, including a discussion of common shaker table tests and equipment, followed by an overview of the satellite test structure. The test philosophy and implementation are introduced, and the results are presented and discussed. To offer insight for future shaker table tests, this thesis concludes with a discussion of the lessons learned.

Results show that the individual microsatellites withstood the shaker excitation input, and can survive the vibration environment during flight. However, significant rattling in the cup / cone interface between the two structures necessitated a redesign of the interface. Potential solutions to this failure mode are discussed"--Abstract, page iii.


Pernicka, Hank

Committee Member(s)

Rovey, Joshua L.
Dharani, Lokeswarappa R.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

M.S. in Aerospace Engineering


Missouri University of Science and Technology

Publication Date

Spring 2011


x, 78 pages

Note about bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 55-57).


© 2011 Tonya Michelle Sanders, All rights reserved.

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

File Type




Subject Headings

Artificial satellites -- Testing
Vibration (Aeronautics) -- Experiments
Vibration -- Testing

Thesis Number

T 9860

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Electronic OCLC #