HyperSizer helps refine design adaptations for Dream Chaser spacecraft

HyperSizer helps refine design adaptations for Dream Chaser spacecraft

Fri 25, May 2018

Collier Research Corp. announced May 9 that with the go-ahead from NASA for a first mission to the International Space Station (ISS), the Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC, Arlington, VA, US) Dream Chaser spacecraft team is now reviewing flight performance data and refining the vehicle’s design adaptations to meet mission requirements and changing payloads, using the Collier Research Corporation software HyperSizer.

In addition to cargo transporting capability, the current model of the autonomous, reusable Dream Chaser CRS-2 also has the capabilities for satellite servicing, orbital-debris removal, and exploration technology testing. The demands of low-orbit flight, earth reentry, runway landing, and vehicle reuse require precision design optimization for reliability, durability, and safety. Each type of mission will require additional analysis due to new flight trajectories and corresponding changes to the spacecraft loads.

The HyperSizer tool provides critical insights into the strength, weight and manufacturability of designs for both composite and metal structures. Typically able to reduce the weight of existing designs by 20%-40%, the software plays an important role in margin-of-safety certification for aerospace projects and is also valuable for wind, marine and other fields that demand performance with durability.

According to SNC engineers Andy Kim and Eric Schleicher, to meet these challenges HyperSizer was used by the team on nearly all primary composite structures for the launch-approved CRS-2. 

“HyperSizer’s suite of industry-standard failure criteria was extremely valuable for our team, enabling us to quickly size the Dream Chaser structure and perform architectural trade studies,” says Andy Kim, senior structural engineer for SNC. “The software’s rapid analysis capability gave us more time to interrogate our results and gain insights into the sensitivity of the structural weight to various design features and stiffener cross sections.” 

“HyperSizer helped us improve and automate the design-analysis process for the CRS-2,” says Eric Schleicher, SNC principal structural engineer. “We found some of the most useful aspects of the software to be load processing, sizing, margin reporting and the finite-element model [FEM] update feature.”

“The SNC team did a great job of incorporating HyperSizer into their design and analysis process in order the hit weight and schedule targets,” said James Ainsworth, lead stress engineer for Collier Research Corporation. “They took full advantage of the software’s scripting API to customize the workflow and automate data exchange with their suite of CAE software tools. This enabled the team to move rapidly from whole-scale optimization to detailed analysis and stress reporting. It will be exciting to watch the spacecraft meet its next milestones and prepare for powered orbital space flight.”

SNC engineer’s team has used HyperSizer on nearly all primary composite structures for the launch-approved CRS-2. The challenges faced by the structural engineers included designing of the Dream Chaser to incorporate changing cargo weights and different reentry trajectories, carrying pressurized and non-pressurized items, and withstanding significant deflection forces.

According to Report Sellers, the global composite simulation software market was valued at US$ 43.6 million in 2016 and is projected to grow at an impressive CAGR of 8.5% over the next five years and reach US$ 71.4 million in 2022. Organic growth of composites industry, high demand for automation and faster production process, and increasing demand for simulation software from design to production are the major growth drivers of the market.
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Source: Composites World

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