Productivity bottlenecks for integrated thermal, structural, and optical design activities were identified and systematically eliminated, making possible automated exchange of design information between different engineering specialties.

Complex products are best developed in a collaborative design environment where engineering data and CAD/CAE results can be shared across engineering discipline boundaries within a common software interface. A new software tool that allows Electro-Optical (EO) sensors to be developed in this manner has been used to conduct an integrated Structural/Thermal/Optical (STOP) analysis of a critical lens subassembly in a flight payload. This paper provides a description of the software environment and a summary of the technical results that were produced with it.

The United States Air Force and commercial aerospace industry recognize the importance of moving towards smaller, better, and cheaper spacecraft to support the nation’s increasing dependence on space-based technologies. Whether large or small, all spacecraft will require the same basic bus systems and environmental protection, simply scaled to fit the mission. The varying thermal environment in space is particularly important to spacecraft design and operation because of its affect on hardware performance and survivability.

This paper summarizes the thermal math model correlation effort for the Fast Affordable Science and Technology SATellite (FASTSAT-HSV01), which was designed, built and tested by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and multiple partners. The satellite launched in November 2010 on a Minotaur IV rocket from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Kodiak, Alaska. It carried three Earth science experiments and two technology demonstrations into a low Earth circular orbit with an inclination of 72° and an altitude of 650 kilometers.

Thermal engineering has long been left out of the concurrent engineering environment dominated by CAD (computer aided design) and FEM (finite element method) software.  Current tools attempt to force the thermal design process into an environment primarily created to support structural analysis, which results in inappropriate thermal models. As a result, many thermal engineers either build models “by hand” or use geometric user interfaces that are separate from and have little useful connection, if any, to CAD and FEM systems.