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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001964/1
Title: From Virtual Vibration Testing to a Digital Test Facility for Spacecraft
Principal Investigator: Remedia, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Airbus Defence and Space Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Department: Surrey Space Centre Academic
Organisation: University of Surrey
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 27 June 2018 Ends: 26 June 2021 Value (£): 524,716
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Materials testing & eng.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 4 - 8 and 9 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
When we think about spacecraft we tend to refer to planets' exploration, but most of the every-day electrical items we normally use (TV, mobile phone, sat-nav etc.) also use satellites and they require more and more sophisticated technologies. The construction of spacecraft is a very long and complex procedure, which needs to be maintained in line with the development of technologies on Earth. There is the need to make this process faster and more affordable.

In the development of a satellite two factors that significantly affect cost and duration of the process are the design of the spacecraft for MAIT (Manufacturing, Assembly, Integration and Test), and the long testing process the spacecraft has to undergo (structural, thermal, electrical and optical) with all the uncertainties related to it. For both issues a novel approach for space applications, virtual testing, would tackle both issues.

The final aim of this research is to develop an end-to-end digital model which would virtually reproduce all the test facilities into one single umbrella software where the computational model of the spacecraft can be "tested". Doing this before the real test would give the manufacturer company the real scenario their spacecraft will undergo during test without any unexpected turnout. This, on one side, allows an ideal design in terms of cost/efficiency compromise, and, on the other side, prepares the company on all the possible issues during the test phase, which can be promptly corrected for a smoother physical test procedure.

The research is split into three stages: i) building on the expertise gained in the last 2.5 years as postdoc working on virtual testing for vibration tests, the virtual model will be further developed and refined for all possible industry implementations (e.g. correlation of the finite element model, replacement of specific vibration test processes for drastic reduction of over-testing); ii) following the same guidelines developed for vibration tests, virtual models will be built for thermal, electrical and optical tests (comparing virtual results to real test scenarios and nominal analyses); iii) all the virtual models will be collated to develop the final end-to-end digital model (with production of guidelines for use).

The final product outcome of the research will be a tool beneficial to multiple entities: clearly test facilities, which can provide an extra service to manufacturer companies before performing the real tests on the spacecraft; small companies which would take advantage of the significant amount of savings in terms of time and cost for accessing a more affordable market; research and development sector, which can take advantage of the virtual models built for the different test facilities and investigate the possible modifications to the current procedures, same as this research is doing for structural tests.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.surrey.ac.uk