PhD Defense by Terry Stevenson

Event Details
  • Date/Time:
    • Friday March 30, 2018
      2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Location: MK 317
  • Phone:
  • URL:
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
  • Extras:
No contact information submitted.

Summary Sentence: “Development of Multi-Functional Structures for Small Satellites

Full Summary: No summary paragraph submitted.

“Development of Multi-Functional Structures for Small Satellites”

Terry Stevenson


Friday March 30, 2 pm

MK 317


Miniaturized electronics have allowed small, volume-constrained satellites, like CubeSats, to perform functions that were previously only possible with larger spacecraft. In contrast to typical space missions, many CubeSats are more limited by available volume than by mass. The use of advanced manufacturing techniques, particularly 3D printing, allows more efficient use of this available volume. Hollow elements of the structure can be used to store and transport fluids without requiring additional piping. In this way, the structure of the satellite can become multifunctional; it still provides structural support, but can also encompass a propulsion or thermal control system.

This concept was applied to produce a propulsion system for the BioSentinel 6U CubeSat. By printing the system from a ceramic-like material, the propellant tanks are able to fill more of the available volume than would have been possible with conventionally produced parts. Incorporating the nozzles and piping into the structure also reduces the number of pressure seals required. The BioSentinel thruster has been manufactured and tested, and will launch with the first flight of SLS in 2020. This technology was also applied to design a CubeSat structure that is entirely 3D printed, and incorporates a propulsion system and torque-free open loop thermal relief system into a metal structure. This improves the maneuverability of the spacecraft while also increasing volume efficiency. Finally, these techniques were applied to design a printed structure for a Venus atmospheric sampling probe, called Cupid’s Arrow. The probe has an integrated propulsion system, and a separate fluid path for collecting and storing atmospheric samples. This development of multifunctional structures improves the state of the art in small satellite structures and enables more volumetrically efficient space missions.


Committee Members:

Dr. Glenn Lightsey (Advisor), Professor, Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineering

Dr Brian Gunter, Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineering

Dr Claudio Di Leo, Assistant Professor, Georgia Tech Aerospace Engineering

Mr John Baker, Planetary Smallsat Office, Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Dr Matthew Sorgenfrei, Intelligent Systems Division, NASA Ames Research Center


Additional Information

In Campus Calendar

Graduate Studies

Invited Audience
Faculty/Staff, Public, Graduate students, Undergraduate students
Phd Defense
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Mar 19, 2018 - 10:37am
  • Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018 - 10:37am