Jeff Smith, Senior Director of Aerospace and Defense Industry
For many people, reaching the stars might seem like a pipe dream. But not for Dennis Tito. On April 28, 2001, Dennis Tito—a wealthy businessman—spent $20 million for a seat on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft to be the first non-astronaut to visit the International Space Station and watch the milky way up close. Over the next 20 years, only seven more people followed suit.
But, last year, space tourism reached another important threshold when SpaceX—an American aerospace manufacturer—accessed space with the goal of facilitating more affordable space tourism and even settlement. The endeavor was all the more fascinating because this was the first time a spacecraft was built and owned by a private corporation and by not any government agency. Undoubtedly, this project opened up a new portal to the dawn of the commercial space industry— for building an economy in and for space. And the time is not far when the moon would become a habitable base, or Mars gets to transform into Earth’s scientific colony!
Jumping on the bandwagon of this promising entrepreneurial space age – New Space, many enthusiastic aerospace manufacturers are now rapidly expanding their capabilities to bring a bold new era of space development.
But the looming question here is: How exactly can New Space companies begin to drive the new frontier of satellite technology? According to Dassault Systèmes, a behemoth in the 3D product design, simulation, and manufacturing space, the answer lies in the right business platform that helps them shorten rocketry and satellite development time to achieve first-time-right quality for successful launches. “The challenge for New Space companies is to develop the versatility of their platforms while manufacturing to order at scale. In the longer term, the challenge will be to manage mega-constellations and ensure their sustainability,” says David Ziegler, VP of aerospace and defense at Dassault Systèmes. And this is precisely what Dassault Systèmes [OTC US: DASTY] brings to bear.
The company’s 3DEXPERIENCE® platform aids New Space players to succeed in the new frontier of satellite technology. It speeds up their ability to design and manufacture sustainable first-time-right rocketry and satellite systems with the required quality, at lesser costs, and ultimately accelerate the delivery of satellites.
By integrating technology into product development, new space companies can accelerate the product lifecycle from concept to take-off and gain a critical first-to-market advantage. This is made possible through a suite of powerful digital capabilities that include real-time collaboration, virtual simulation, and optimized planning, along with the virtual twin experience. The virtual twin experience acts as an added advantage to create an accurate and executable virtual model of the physical operations, allowing companies to evaluate multiple what-if scenarios much faster and with ease.
Heralding the Golden Age of Rocketry and Satellite Manufacturing
When it comes to satellite designing, Zielger explains that their cloud-enabled 3DEXPERIENCE platform offers exceptional digital engineering with the capability to reuse data and models from past projects instead of starting from scratch. Stakeholders can collaborate with a real-time overview of those designs to achieve innovative, sustainability-focused results faster. Additionally, the platform’s advanced virtual simulation capabilities allow companies to accelerate the testing and validation process. When they are equipped with multi-scale and multi-physics simulation capabilities that can rapidly reproduce complex space systems, they can explore more options and address quality issues and launch risks earlier. Thus, by bridging the real and virtual worlds, the 3DEXPERIENCE platform enables companies to extend the boundaries of rocketry and satellite innovation and make space more accessible.
More Realistic Simulation for Space Systems
While the room for innovation possibilities might be endless for spacecraft, satellites, and planetary exploration vehicles, there’s no margin for the slightest error. Multiple simulations are necessary to measure operational and environmental loadings on these products. Typical analyses include thermal, stress, fatigue, durability, transportation and handling simulations, as well as dynamic analysis in the modal domain or the transient, often nonlinear domain. The ability to co-simulate these loads coupled with kinematic and mechanism operations is essential.
Dassault Systèmes’ realistic simulation solution, SIMULIA, makes all of this possible without letting the New Space companies break a sweat. Its wide variety of capabilities for the advanced simulation of space systems allow for rapid prototyping and ensuring the reliability of all communication systems.
Bridging the Gap from Concepts to Operations
Across the space tech realm, as programs are complex to design, build and deliver, OEMs and suppliers need to accelerate innovation, drive efficiencies, and move to the factory of the future to allow for greater agility on production rate. This requires a new way to conceptualize, certify and sustain new air and space vehicles.
One of the ways that Dassault Systèmes fulfills the strategic objective of accelerating innovations in satellite technology is by participating in the creation of Soundview Innovation Campus (SIC), a 500,000-sq-ft world-class center near Puget Sound designed to promote the cross-fertilization of new ideas and open innovation among different industries. Modeled after Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE Center in partnership with Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research, SIC is the metaphorical ‘center of gravity’ for accelerating New Space R&D.
Alongside this is Dassault Systèmes’ “Reinvent The Sky,” a cloud-based industry solution for the aerospace and defense industry. Tailored to help startups and small-scale original equipment manufacturers in product innovation, ‘Reinvent The Sky’ can cut the development time of a first prototype in half. Dassault Systèmes is currently using this initiative to attract startups and venture capital firms to New Space projects.
Moving forward, Dassault Systèmes wants to keep adding more innovative digital solutions to remain the benchmark of technological innovation for New Space companies. To conclude, in the words of Jeff Smith, Senior Director of aerospace and defense industry strategy and innovation at Dassault Systèmes, “New Space is a huge and growing entity but is still in its infancy. We are helping create an environment in which startups can mature their ideas faster and venture capitalists funding those ideas can recoup their return on investment quicker.”