Technical Brief

Designing for Additive Manufacturing: Lightweighting Through Topology Optimization Enables Lunar Spacecraft

[+] Author and Article Information
Melissa Orme

Morf3D Inc., 821 N Nash Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

Michael Gschweitl

Ruag Space, Zürich, Switzerland, 8052

Michael Ferrari

Ruag Space, Zürich, Switzerland, 8052

Ivan Madera

Morf3D Inc., 821 N Nash Street, El Segundo, CA 90245

Franck Mouriaux

Ruag Space, Zürich, Switzerland, 8052

1Corresponding author.

ASME doi:10.1115/1.4037304 History: Received February 10, 2017; Revised July 10, 2017


This paper discusses the Design for Additive Manufacturing of a system of five light-weight, topologically optimized components that serve as an engine mount in SpaceIL's GLPX lunar landing craft that will participate in the Google Lunar XPrize challenge. The craft containing the system of topologically optimized components is intended for launch in 2017. The system of components was designed specifically for Additive Manufacturing in AlSi10Mg on an EOS M290 machine, which dictated their maximum size (250mm [9.84in] x 250mm [9.84in] x 325 mm [12.79in]). In addition to size considerations, the components were designed with specific AM build orientations in order to minimize the number of support structures as well as to minimize thermal stresses imparted during the powder-bed, laser-melting additive process. After design verification by successfully passing a precise Finite Element Analysis routine, the Additively Manufactured artifacts and in-process testing coupons have undergone rigorous verification and qualification testing in order to to deliver high quality structural components suitable for the loading requirements encountered in the lunar mission. Measured ultimate tensile strength, yield strength, elongation, and density were all well within the acceptance limits for the mission. The final Additively Manufactured assembly consists of five components (four legs and one hub) built in 3 builds with assembled dimensions of 785 mm [30.9 inches] diameter by 305 mm [12 inches] tall.

Copyright (c) 2017 by ASME
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