Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Eric D. Swenson, PhD.


The objective of this research is to characterize how the natural frequencies of AFIT’s CubeSat design can be controlled to meet launch vehicle requirements while increasing the internal and external volume available for payload and bus components as the chassis increases in size. A reliable Finite Element (FE) model is created and validated using NASA’s General Environmental Verification Standards (GEVS) vibrational test on the 12U chassis. The validated FE model proves that current boundary conditions and geometric properties with minimized chassis wall thicknesses to maximize usable internal and external volume maintain a first frequency of the fully loaded 12U chassis above 70 Hz. However, the constraints on the 1U mass stacks aren’t sufficient to prevent structural failure of the mass stacks, and internal supports are necessary to maintain the structural integrity of the mass stacks.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number