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Project team simulates extreme conditions in spacecraft

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The Violet Satellite project team at Cornell University, USA, has selected MSC Software's finite element analysis pre-and-post processor, Patran, to model and predict extreme component and environmental temperatures in the Violet Satellite spacecraft. The project is the first operational agile nanosatellite. It uses eight Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs) to demonstrate high-agility altitude control and novel CMG steering laws. Integrated inside the satellite is a new and ground-breaking type of flight computer called the Maestro Processor. The project team utilises simulation methods to assess the satellite's survivability in an extra-terrestrial environment, and its viability as a pathfinder to make scientific observations.

Patran is essential in helping ensure that Violet would be durable enough to withstand the harsh conditions of outer space. A model of the structure of the Violet Satellite was imported into Patran to simulate the thermal distribution during the worst case scenario at both extremities, hot and cold. After successful analyses using Patran and Sinda, the advanced thermal analysis solver from MSC, the team has concluded that the Violet spacecraft will survive.