Abstract

The current development process for spacecraft consists of designing for mission goals first and mitigation for environmental requirements second. Environmental issues often arise late in the design process, leading to longer design times and less efficient use of the available volume and mass. Faster and more efficient development of spacecraft can be achieved through a novel design methodology, Multi-Physics Topology Optimization (MPTO). The work presented provides an overview of a MPTO for small satellite design, combining thermal management and structural design into a single, streamlined process. This method results in a more effective use of allotted mass and volume, providing opportunities to increase system functionality. An example case is provided using an existing 3U CubeSat, where the proposed methodology was used to improve specific performance attributes. As topology optimization technologies continue to develop, this method can be expanded to include new capabilities, such as multi-material optimization, as well as new objectives, such as optical and electrical performance.

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