SkySat Structural Analysis



Provide the structural analysis support required to develop a 2nd generation SmallSat system for a LEO imaging constellation. The structural architecture must be robust enough for launch qualification on a variety of launch vehicles (LVs), leading to challenging, enveloped random vibration environments. Redesign core structural architecture to accommodate a new propulsion system with minimal structural mass and payload dynamic environment impacts. Sensitive optical payloads require minimizing structural dynamic amplification thru the bus structure. Analysis required to generate accurate dynamic environments for development and testing of primary and secondary payloads.


Quartus provided structural analysis support for the SkySat program for several years, from pre-PDR concept development thru qualification and acceptance testing. Tasks included:

  • Development and maturation of detailed system-level FEM
    • Collaboration with multiple subcomponent vendors for modeling, FEM integration, interface requirements, and analysis
  • Optimization of primary bus structures
  • Stress analysis
  • Dynamics (sine & random) analysis and development of environmental test specifications
    • Challenging environments enveloping a wide range of LVs
    • Force-limit notching
  • Acoustic analysis & test support
  • Thermal distortion analysis
    • Temperature mapping from on-orbit thermal analyses
  • Non-linear slosh simulations (multi-phase CFD) to predict on-orbit propellant dynamic loads for ACS group
  • PDR and CDR support
  • Pre-test vibration analysis & predicts
  • On-site analytical support for dynamics testing
  • FEM-test correlation
    • Very good correlation achieved up to high frequencies (> 1000 Hz)
  • CLA model generation and submission to LV providers

To-date, 11 2nd generation SkySat satellites have been successfully launched (on three different LVs) and are currently in operation by Planet.

Engineering Disciplines

  • FE Modeling
  • Structural Dymamics
  • Vibration Testing
  • Model Correlation
  • Coupled Loads Analysis (CLA)

Software & Tools

  • NX-Nastran
  • Hypermesh
  • Optistruct
  • Thermal Desktop

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Who We Are

Quartus Engineering Incorporated was founded in 1997 to provide quality advanced engineering services. Quartus specializes in the design and analysis of mechanical systems using computer-aided technologies. We are committed to serving the needs of the engineering community in a timely and cost-effective manner. Download our brochure.

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