Surrey University Stag

SPACECRAFT STRUCTURES AND MECHANISMS - 2023/4

Module code: EEEM049

Module Overview

Expected prior learning: Knowledge equivalent to BEng degree in Electronic/Electrical Engineering or Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering

 

Module purpose:  The spacecraft structure is the physical platform that supports and integrates sub-systems and payloads. As such, it is of fundamental importance for any spacecraft. Through a series of lectures and exercises, this module gives the students an understanding of the issues that must be addressed in the design and analysis of spacecraft structures and mechanisms.

 

In addition, to illustrate the industrial perspective of this subject, there will be a series of guest lectures from the academia and industry. One lecture is delivered by an expert of spacecraft structures from the European Space Agency and the other by a chief mechanical engineer at Thales Alenia Space.

 

Module provider

Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Module Leader

CIAMPA Francesco (Mech Eng Sci)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

JACs code: H420

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 104

Lecture Hours: 11

Tutorial Hours: 5

Guided Learning: 10

Captured Content: 20

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None.

Module content

Indicative content includes the following.


  • Overview of the module



 


  • Launch Environment



Sources of mechanical excitation during spacecraft Launch.

Satellite’s mechanical environment, quasi static loads, random vibrations, acoustic loads, shocks

Structural design requirements and specifications

The space environment

 


  • Vibration response – single and multi-degree of freedom systems, natural frequencies, structural transfer functions, shock response spectrum.



Micro-vibrations sources and impact on other subsystems

 


  • Typical structural component



Honeycomb panels / inserts / bolted and bonded joints

 


  • Typical spacecraft structural layouts



Primary, secondary and tertiary structures, definition, and examples

 


  • Typical spacecraft mechanisms



Release mechanisms, deployable structures (booms, antennas, arrays), various actuators and examples e.g., Reaction Wheels

 


  • Overview of structural analysis techniques for spacecraft structures, FEM



 


  • Overview of materials typically used in spacecraft structures: aluminium alloys and other metals alloys, polymer matrix composites (CFRP, GFRP) and their manufacturing processes, metal and ceramic matrix composites and ceramic materials. Failure modes in metals and ceramic materials.



 


  • Structural thermal response



Thermal response of mechanisms and modelling thermal environment

Thermal control techniques

 


  • Guest Lectures: European Space Agency & Thales Alenia Space


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Examination Online ONLINE (OPEN BOOK) EXAM WITHIN 4HR WINDOW 100

Alternative Assessment

Not applicable: students failing a unit of assessment resit the assessment in its original format.

Assessment Strategy

 

The assessment strategy for this module is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge and application of the module content as described above.
 

Summative assessment
Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of the following


  • Online – open-book – written examination within 4-hour window. Exam questions will be structured to be answered in 2 hours. This will contain a selection of questions designed to assess the breadth and depth of knowledge that the students have gained by studying the module. The examination also verifies the assimilation of appropriate terminology, and the capability to apply specific structural design methodologies.   



 

Formative assessment and feedback

For the module, students will receive formative assessment and feedback in the following ways.
 


  • During online or face-to-face sessions, by question-and-answer sessions.



 


  • During tutorials/tutorial classes, students are given exercises which they try to solve independently and then the whole class goes through the solution discussing any issue that the students find with the specific exercise.  



 


  • By means of unassessed tutorial problem sheets (with answers/model solutions), similar to homework, and the students are given the solutions at a later date.



 


  • During meetings with the lecturer or at the end of face-to-face sessions, the lecturer is available for one-to one Q&A with the students to clarify any doubt they may have regarding to the material that was presented during the lectures.



 


  • There will be opportunities for formative assessment during other learning activities such as discussion forums.


Module aims

  • provide an overview of the issues that need to be addressed in the design of spacecraft structures and mechanisms.
  • provide students with an appreciation and understanding of the development of the whole spacecraft structural design process.
  • provide the student with the ability to apply this knowledge to practical applications.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Knowledge and understanding: having successfully completed the module, the student will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: The development of the spacecraft structural design, starting from the definition of the structural requirements to the final structural test campaign. The students will also gain a good understanding of the basic principles of spacecraft mechanisms design.
002 Intellectual skills; having successfully completed the module, the student will be able to: Understand the mechanical design requirements quoted in launchers user manuals. KCP
003 Calculate preliminary loads on the spacecraft. KCP
004 Select appropriately the materials and structural parameters to meet basic requirements. KCP
005 Perform a preliminary structural design/analysis of some spacecraft elements . KCP
006 Analyse data from experimental testing and compare them with theoretical predictions. KCP

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to achieve the following aims.

 


  • To provide students with an overview of issues that need to be addressed in the design of spacecraft structures and mechanisms, giving them an appreciation and understanding of the development of the whole spacecraft structural design process.



 


  • To provide the student knowledge and skills which are relevant for a future employment in industry or other institutions.



 

 

Learning and teaching methods include the following.

 

 


  • Teaching is by pre-recorded Panopto video lectures, face-to-face teaching sessions and tutorials. Learning takes place through lectures, tutorials, and exercises. Some of the example problems come from real industrial applications.



 


  • The students are invited to participate to the face-to-face lecture sessions raising questions, and at the end of these lectures the lecturer is available for one-to one Q&A with the students to clarify any doubt they may have regarding to the material presented during lectures.



 


  • Pre-recorded Panopto video lectures worth 2 hours of lectures per week and 1 hour tutorial for 11 weeks.


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

https://readinglists.surrey.ac.uk
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: EEEM049

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Electronic Engineering with Space Systems MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Space Engineering MSc 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Satellite Communications Engineering MSc 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Electronic Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Mechanical Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Aerospace Engineering MEng 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2023/4 academic year.