Commercial space development has advanced in recent years, and interest in the effective use of outer space is growing. With the growing interest, the danger of space debris is gaining attention. There is already much debris in the Earth’s atmosphere – more than 20,000 objects with a size of 10 centimeters or more, and more than 100 million objects that are 1 millimeter or smaller. These unmanaged objects represent a significant risk for both manned missions as well as devices such as artificial satellites. Established in 2015 in Tokyo as a research and development site, Astroscale Japan Inc. has a goal of removing space debris to reduce the risk of space development.
The first satellite called IDEA OSG 1, scheduled for launch in the second half of 2016, is tasked with gathering debris data. In developing the satellite, Astroscale used Femap with NX Nastran to simulate the environment that satellite will have to endure, particularly under launch conditions, where it is subject to massive acceleration and vibration during the rocket’s launch. It’s no easy matter to get everything ready for launch within the short time period specified in the project plan. Physical prototypes and test are challenging for both time and cost reasons, so Astroscale’s major weapon is CAE using Femap.
You can read the full case study and see how for Astroscale, use of simulation is crucial in order to minimize prototypes and accelerate the development schedule.