Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering


Xi Wu


During a rocket launch, satellites withstand large dynamic forces due to vibrations that are transmitted from the launch vehicle. As such, they must undergo testing to ensure that their function is not impaired by such forces. CubeSats are cost-effective nanosatellites, and like their larger counterparts, undergo dynamic testing for launch qualification. While dynamic analysis can done on a CubeSat alone, other assembly constituents also affect the response, and including them in the analysis can provide insight on the true dynamic behavior of CubeSats. To show this, the work presented here recreates a vibration test setup using Finite Element Analysis (FEA) in order to predict the dynamic response of a CubeSat test assembly. A Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer (P-Pod) is used as the housing and ejection mechanism for CubeSats. For modeling purposes however, a simplified P-Pod (test pod) was used, along with a mass model to represent a CubeSat. Sine sweep and random vibration tests were performed for the test pod and mass model. For the FEA simulation, CAD geometry and material properties were imported into Abaqus to solve for the different modes and natural frequencies of the structures. From the FEA models, the first six natural frequencies of the test pod were generated, with an average 7% error when compared to the experimental data. The analysis was repeated for the test pod and mass model assembly, and the first eight natural frequencies were generated, with an average 4% error when compared to the experimental data. With the FEA models validated, the FEA template was applied to CubeSat CPX, a concept design structure used to demonstrate the application of the FEA model developed in this work.