Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Dr. Pauline Faure

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


In this thesis, the development of a structure for use in an educational CubeSat kit is explored. The potential uses of this kit include augmenting existing curricula with aspects of hands on learning, developing new ways of training students on proper space systems engineering practices, and overall contributing to academic capacity building at Cal Poly and its collaborators. The design improves on existing CubeSat kit structures by increasing accessibility to internal components by implementing a modular backplane system, as well as adding the ability to be environmentally tested. Manufacturing of the structure is completed with both additive (Fused Deposition Modeling with ABS polymer and Selective Laser Melting with AlSi10Mg metal) and subtractive (milling with Al-6061) technologies. Modal, harmonic, and random vibration analyses and tests are done to ensure the structure passes vibration testing qualification loads, as outlined by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s General Environmental Standards. Successful testing of the structure, defined as deforming less than 0.5 millimeters and maintaining a factor of safety above 2, is achieved with all materials of interest. Thus, the structure becomes the first publicly available CubeSat kit designed to survive environmental testing. Achieving this goal with a structure made of the cheap, widely available material ABS showcases the potential usability of 3D-printed polymers in CubeSat structures.