P16103: RIT-SPEX Vibration Test Rig


Project Summary Project Information

A CubeSat is a smaller satellite which often serves as a more cost effective means of testing space system technology. Many countries, universities, and industries have begun exploring CubeSat technology as an option since its inception in 1999. Many major organizations such as NASA, Planet Labs, and Los Alamos Laboratories have launched CubeSats in an attempt to expand their presence in space and test new technologies. While still an expensive technology, CubeSats offer a means of establishing a presence in space at a fraction of the cost of a full sized satellite or other mission. RIT has begun to invest in the design and launch of a CubeSat by forming the RIT Space Exploration Team (RIT SPEX) in the fall of 2014. RIT SPEX intends to use MSD projects and student research positions to develop a launch ready CubeSat by the year 2020.

In order to ensure the CubeSat will be able to be successful in its mission, the CubeSat must have a durable design which can withstand testing designed to simulate vibrations experienced during the launch of the satellite. While facilities currently exist with machinery designed to replicate the vibrations of a launch vehicle, they have a high cost associated with their daily use which is not conducive to the ability of RIT SPEX to test their systems simply and make changes in an iterative fashion.

The goal of this project is to design and construct a vibration test rig capable of simulating the launch environment a CubeSat experiences in common launch vehicles so that the survival and functionality of the CubeSat can be ensured through the launch stages of the mission. The test rig should provide a more cost effective alternative to vibration testing at outside laboratories. The rig will be stored and used in the RIT SPEX lab, but should still be a manageable size and weight so it can be easily transported. The design for the system will take into account benchmarking and analysis of current test rigs to ensure the design that is best suited for RIT SPEX. The final deliverable will include a bill of materials, complete design documentation, and a user’s guide in order to provide clear insight into the design process as well as the capabilities and limitations of the testing rig.

For an updated project description, click on the following link for the Project Readiness Package.

System Model with Corner Cutaway

System Model with Corner Cutaway

public/Photo Gallery/P16103_SPEX Logo.jpg

Project Name
RIT-SPEX Vibration Test Rig
Project Number
Project Family
RIT Space Exploration
Start Term
End Term
Faculty Guide
Edward Hanzlik
Primary Customer
Dr. Milhail Barbosu
Dr. Dorin Patru
RIT SPEX (Space Exploration Research Group)
Website, Facebook, Twitter
Sponsors (financial support)
Boeing & RIT MSD
public/Detailed Design Documents/P16103_Boeing.png
public/Photo Gallery/P16103_KGCOE_MSD_logo.jpg

Team Members

Left to Right: Peter Artuso, Timothy Wilhelm, Melissa St. Preux, Richard Maroney, Brian Herzog

Left to Right: Peter Artuso, Timothy Wilhelm, Melissa St. Preux, Richard Maroney, Brian Herzog

Member Role Contact
Peter Artuso Student pja3349@rit.edu
Timothy Wilhelm Student tjw8169@rit.edu
Brian Herzog Student bjh9935@rit.edu
Richard Maroney Student rpm6576@rit.edu
Melissa St. Preux Student mxs8643@rit.edu

Table of Contents


Project Management

Project Photos and Videos

Imagine RIT

Problem Definition

Systems Design

Subsystem Design

Preliminary Detailed Design

Detailed Design

Build & Test Prep

Subsystem Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test

Integrated System Build & Test with Customer Demo

Customer Handoff & Final Project Documentation