The objective of the activity is to replace existing primary structure of small satellites (up to 200 kg mass) with thermoplastic materials. Targeted Improvements:Simpler platform due to 30% lead time reduction in design, manufacture and assembly. Description:Manufacturing of spacecraft platform components requires the use of metallic or carbon fibre reinforced polymer (thermoset-based) materials that have some drawbacks: metallic corrosion needing toxic surface treatments and shelf-life issues for thermosets create procurement and storage complications. The manufacturing process involves many steps and sub-processes with high risk and long lead times (e.g. bonding, multiple sub-contractors). Errors can occur at each step of (structural) component/part production (manufacturing error, human error, damage post-manufacturing), leading to the need for repair or part rejection, increasing cost and schedule. Manufacturing time can be reduced by the implementation of less complex, robust, and standardised processes utilising new thermoplastic materials (composites) that, together with new joining techniques, enable highly repeatable and reliable constructions. By simplifying the entire manufacturing chain (easier process and integration), rejection rates at all levels (material, parts) decrease and effective series production with shorter lead time is enabled. The use of a new thermoplastic design approach for components and assembly can address all the negative aspects of conventional production. Multiple traditional components can be replaced by a single component and self-bonding/welding (with thermal or ultra-sonic activation) can be used for assembly, either for single parts or enabling series production. Further, these new materials have an intrinsic capability allowing re-shaping, re-use and recycling. In addition, due to their processing versatility, mass-production can be envisaged together with an increase of design flexibility (3D printing, hot press-moulding, thermal forming). Lastly, the new material offers better demisability and enables in-space recycling/manufacturing (unused spacecraft can become a source of raw material with better recycling capability in terms of energy needs). This applies for various sizes of platforms. In this activity a scaled engineering model of a primary structure using thermoplastics will be designed, manufactured and tested.

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