Development of a Novel type of a CubeSat Structure

  • Ruqayya A. Y. Alhammadi

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The development of CubeSat structures is considered an important objective since it controls the limits of the available mass and volume for the onboard subsystems. Additionally, it controls the way that the subsystems are installed inside the CubeSat. In this thesis, a new type of CubeSat structure design was developed to solve the current limitations of the commercially available structures. The design was developed by following a modularization design approach. A number of modularization drivers were set out to guide the development of the new design. For instance, following standards, reducing assembly and disassembly time, satisfying the space environment requirements, easy access to the boards in such that removing one board would not require removing other boards. In the current designs available in the market, removing one board requires removing other boards. The need to remove one board after the assembly is an expected process during the testing and inspection phases. Therefore, it is becoming essential to develop an alternative solution that does not require removing other boards. For the new design, introduced in this thesis, a seven-step procedure was proposed and followed. The seven steps included: creating an initial sketch, satisfying the design functional objectives, meeting the standards requirements, producing a 3D printed prototype, satisfying the strength and stiffness requirements based on finite element analyses, manufacturing a metallic prototype, and satisfying the vibration testing requirements. By following these steps, a new modular design was obtained and presented using CAD software. This design was achieved after seven different design iterations. The proposed design is based on a nut and threaded rod mechanism to act as holders for the subsystem boards. The design fulfils all of the objectives and standards requirements. Quasi-static and modal finite element analyses were carried out on the design. The results of simulations suggest that the design would satisfy the safety launch requirements.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageAmerican English


  • CubeSat structure
  • modular design
  • design process
  • finite element analysis
  • quasi-static analysis
  • modal analysis.

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