PLM Software for Space Systems Engineering

Engineering solutions to manage spacecraft development and realization processes at lower cost and decreased risk

The space systems industry is always looking for a way to build lighter-weight, higher-performance and more reliable vehicles as a means of reducing the cost of delivering payload into orbit. The application of new materials, innovative structures and systems create new opportunities to make spacecraft and its operations more affordable. It’s also clear that the challenges with respect to longer manned space missions are huge and need increased engineering attention. Our solutions for the space systems industry can help you engineer innovative spacecraft and improve your development processes, including structural, mechanical and systems engineering, and environmental testing.

As composites have received growing acceptance in a variety of industries, including traditional aerospace, automotive, wind energy and marine, the space industry has followed suit and is relying more on these cutting-edge materials. That’s because composite materials provide stiffer, stronger, lighter-weight structures while simultaneously reducing initial manufacturing and overall lifecycle costs. Specialized engineering tools – such as product lifecycle management (PLM) and composites engineering software – provide the necessary CAD-integrated software tools to reliably design and manufacture optimized structures and deliver several key advantages, including:

  • Design definitions that closely integrate with finite element analysis (FEA) software to enable a concurrent design and analysis process
  • Producibility simulations that alert design and manufacturing engineers to possible manufacturing issues early in the process
  • Seamless transfer of all design data to manufacturing for multiple processes, including manual layup, resin transfer molding, automated fiber placement (AFP) and tape laying (ATL)

Working through cost and performance tradeoffs for the use of composite materials are part of an exciting new range of “game-changing” projects in the space systems industry. These projects focus on creating dramatically lighter-weight vehicles to provide more payload capability, which helps to defray the operational cost of delivering satellites into orbit. Less expensive manufacturing techniques for composite structures also helps reduce costs through part consolidation and reduced fabrication time.

The projects also focus on detailed, iterative structural analysis that is essential for optimizing the weight of composite structures. Enhancing the method of communicating composite definitions to analysis tools provides a new, fast and reliable way to optimize designs for weight and performance.

Re-usable launch vehicles provide tremendous savings relative to the current method of destroying the launch vehicle with every payload delivery. Re-using a vehicle requires a clear understanding of how flight loads can affect structural integrity. Projects providing detailed, granular definitions of the composite structure lead to a more accurate understanding of the structure’s behavior.

These space systems engineering capabilities have the potential to help achieve industry goals and propel the state of the art for spacecraft into a new era. The industry-specific software and services of Siemens PLM Software streamline the design-to-manufacturing process for spacecraft components, and help engineers work more efficiently, reduce time-to-market and improve product performance.

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