Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


College of Engineering


Kira Abercromby

Advisor Department

Aerospace Engineering

Advisor College

College of Engineering


This thesis investigates the implementation of a passive isolator with a pressurized air cushion for spacecraft payloads in mission architectures implementing in-space assembly technologies. A pressurized air bed capable of briefly surviving the space environment for cargo delivery was prototyped and experimentally evaluated for launch vehicle vibration dynamics resulting in a 72%, 93%, and 88% reduction in experienced GRMS loads for the X-Axis, Y-Axis, and Z-Axis, respectively. A preliminary Total Mass Loss evaluation of the Low-Density Polyethylene Film utilized for the air bed resulted in a mass loss of 0.7%, indicating that commercial off-the-shelf films might require minimal modification for flight readiness. An analytical model of a planar rectangular payload experiencing free vibrations with a Winkler foundation is generated and compared to the experimental results, showing a potential way for characterizing and designing such a foundation to reduce experienced vibrations. These preliminary results show a potential path for a non-cost-prohibitive method for space payloads to reduce loads experienced during launch as inspired by the successful hosted payloads program aboard the International Space Station.