Software and services specialist ESI Group, which focuses on support for virtual prototyping in manufacturing industries, has completed work on with German customer Space Structures on a project for the European Space Agency (ESA). As simulation models are key to ensuring the integrity of vital launch equipment subject to high-intensity acoustic field during launch, accurately modeling acoustic conditions is an important challenge. Space Structures used ESI’s vibro-acoustic simulation software VA One to virtually test their designs in various acoustic noise environments. They could qualify the structural stress and strength responses of carbon-fiber composite panels, early in the design stage – improving their return on investment for this project, and increasing the satisfaction of their own customer, the European Space Agency.
One of the main challenges in the aerospace industry is to accurately predict acoustic and vibration responses under rocket launch conditions, as the intense acoustic field experienced during the early launch phase, including liftoff, can cause severe structural damage. Specifically, the integrity of both the spacecraft and protective fairing, along with sensitive ground-based equipment, can be impaired at launch. Most approaches to evaluate launch acoustic conditions use older calculation or empirical methods and rely heavily on trial-and-error testing information from legacy designs. These provide little opportunity for design optimisation and such methodology can lead to inaccurate results, conservative assumptions, excess weight, and are likely to neglect frequency-dependent characteristics. In this context, independent engineering firm Space Structures GmbH sought to employ an advanced simulation methodology that would eliminate such limitations.