Structural Engineer

Structural Engineer

Position Description
Subsystem Summary:

The structural subsystem of SpaceDot is responsible for the structural design and insurance of the assemblies robustness. This is accomplished by properly assembling all the components, while constantly communicating with the rest of the team in order to assure that their needs are covered. But most important by running FE analyses, which can determine how the structure is affected by the external loads during the launch phase. 


In particular, the AcubeSAT project has a specific mission, which is to host a biological experiment which will show the effects of the space conditions on eukaryotic cells.

Taking that into consideration, the structural subsystem must ensure that the experiment is hosted in the preferable conditions. 

The starting point is the design of a payload container that will enclose it. While designing it many factors have to be accounted and those are the following:

  • Since everything has to be fitted in a 3U cubesat (10 x 10 x 30 cm), the space limitation is one of the main parameters that affect the design.
  • As mentioned before, proper conditions must be maintained. The structural subsystem has to ensure that the interior pressure can and will be maintained in the preferred values by accordingly adjusting the design, while following some basic rules for sealed flanged structures.

The instrumentation of the experiment is highly sensitive, so a casing is designed to keep it stable and unaffected of the external loads. This casing is called a unibody, and is designed based on the instrumentations’ external dimensions. The factors that contributed to the final design are: 

  • Secure implementation
  • Ease in assembly and disassembly procedures
  • Space limitation
  • Interface with the payload container

All the above will be secured on the cubesat’s frame. The overall assembly shall be compatible with ESA’s requirements, such as the total weight and the center of mass, which also affect the final design.

The next step is to prove that our design can withstand the launch phase and is also functionable. This leads to the following analyses the must run:

  • Quasi-static analysis
  • Modal analysis
  • Random vibrations analysis
  • Bolt analysis
  • Pressure Analysis
  • Leak rates analysis

After running them, some minor design modifications can be made in order to ensure the components’ robustness.

Preferred Skills:

In order to be able to do all the stages described above, the following skills are preferred:

  • Familiarity with CAD software
  • Familiarity with FE analysis and technical terms
  • Experience with materials and tooling
  • Ability to provide practical and reliable design solutions
  • Familiarity with:
    • Strength of materials
    • Strength of mechanical structures
    • Theory of FEM
  • Good English skills, both oral and in writing

But most and foremost you are ready to apply if you have the desire and inspiration to be a part of an aerospace project. A team player spirit and the thirst for knowledge are the basic skills you need.