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Satellite Manufacturer LeoStella – Scalable and Cost-Efficient Microsatellites Using m+p international for Shock and Vibration Testing

microsatellit on shaker
LeoStella's microsatellite is tested on a shaker with m+p Vibcontrol software and m+p VibRunner hardware. To ensure maximum safety, excessive vibration amplitudes are identified and avoided by vector notching. | Photo source: LeoStella

LeoStella in Seattle/USA is revolutionizing the development and production of small satellites (microsatellites). With a strong focus on scalable and cost-efficient production processes for small satellites, LeoStella enables the development of new services and products that rely on satellites in earth orbit to provide a variety of data.

Safe Satellite Tests with Force Limited Vibration Testing (FLVT)

LeoStella checks whether the satellites can withstand the stresses of a rocket launch and operation. For this purpose, the sinusoidal and random excitation is generated by m+p VibControl software and supplied to the shaker via the m+p VibRunner data acquisition hardware. The measurement of acceleration and forces by sensors and the monitoring by m+p VibControl closes the control loop and allows an accurate, fast and safe control of the desired vibration amplitude. The definition of the tests is easy to follow and flexibly adaptable for efficient programming.

To meet the highest safety demands, LeoStella uses the Vector Notching option of m+p VibControl. Notching enables the targeted adjustment of the excitation amplitude depending on the occurring vibrations of the satellite. Whenever resonances appear, the excitation is reduced in a targeted and fully automatic manner, in order to avoid damages.

m+p VibControl eliminates the need for external, analog, and error-prone summation of sensor signals during 3D vibration tests! The Vector Notching option handles vibration monitoring in all three dimensions, providing maximum protection against over-testing and immediate detection of sensor failures.

Flexible Measurement Hardware for the Test Lab

m+p international data acquisition hardware is tailored to the requirements of tests on microsatellites such as at LeoStella: The system consists of three m+p VibRunner data acquisition systems synchronized with each other via clock in/clock out circuitry, providing a total of 56 input channels and two output channels. Due to the modular design of the m+p data acquisition hardware, almost any combination of the number of output and input channels can be realized - up to several thousand channels. The accurate and always reliable measurement performance is, of course, not influenced by the number of channels!

Extensive Shock Testing of Satellites

LeoStella also uses the integrated m+p VibControl shock testing modules. From the launch of a rocket to the deployment of the satellite, a large number of short loads with very high acceleration amplitudes occur (up to 200,000 g). m+p VibControl simulates the shocks exactly in the test laboratory. Our customer LeoStella can therefore optimize the design of the satellites to the loads during the rocket launch already in the early development phase and thus avoid damage.

m+p VibControl offers a wide range of options for recording and processing time data from shocks. With Transient Capture you can record arbitrary shocks. You can either use them directly with m+p VibControl to control a shaker or convert them to a Shock Response Spectrum (SRS). Especially for strong shocks, the Shock Response Spectrum is a widely used method to adapt them to the maximum performance of the shaker and thus make a test feasible.

The interaction of the m+p VibControl vibration control software and the m+p VibRunner or m+p VibPilot data acquisition hardware enables maximum flexibility and efficient test definition and execution.

The separation of stages or coverings is achieved using small explosive loads. The resulting shock waves are called pyroshocks. | Photo source: ESA - Pierre Carril

A typical Shock Response Spectrum (SRS) with high acceleration amplitudes over a wide frequency range. | Photo source: NASA-STD-7003A

Maximum Data Control with Throughput

Using the m+p VibControl Throughput option, LeoStella can easily perform all measurement tasks with a single system. All acquired time data is saved directly to the PC's hard disk and can be further processed as required. This solution eliminates the need for a separate data acquisition system.

The uniform file format allows you to use all m+p software products for data evaluation. For example, use m+p Analyzer to display the operating deflection shapes (ODS) in an animation and calculate the structural dynamic transfer functions! With m+p VibControl, you can also export your data into universally usable data formats.

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