Three degrees-of-freedom adaptive-passive isolator for launch vehicle payloads

Farshad Khorrami, Jahangir Rastegar, R. Scott Erwin

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Payloads (e.g., spacecrafts) are attached to launch vehicles by structural adapters known as Payload Adapter Fittings (PAF). The adapters are substantially rigid; therefore, the launch vehicle vibration is transmitted without isolation to the payloads. The payload cost includes a substantial component for provision to withstand the severe launch vibration environment. In this paper, a novel three degree-of-freedom isolation system built in the footprint and within the existing PAFs is presented. The vibration isolator consists of a mechanical constraining mechanism that prevents the rotation of the payload (i.e., the upper ring of the PAF) relative to the launch vehicle (i.e., the lower ring of the PAF) in both rocking rotation and rotation about the long axis of the launch vehicle. The above rotational motion restraining mechanism would therefore only allow axial (longitudinal) and lateral vibration of the payload relative to the launch vehicle. The second major component of the system consists of isolation components that are used to reduce vibration in the latter two directions, i.e., in the axial and the lateral directions. The proposed isolating payload adapter fitting also has a stand-alone thrust-support preload adjustment component that adjusts for the varying quasi-static acceleration seen in different flight regimes in a passive-adaptive control mode. The advocated isolation system is structurally modular and parametrizable such that a range of launch vehicle platforms could be accommodated. Through the utilization of the advocated isolating payload adapter fitting, a fifty percent reduction in vibration transmission is achieved at 10 Hz in the axial direction and 20 Hz in the lateral directions. A 40 db reduction is achieved at frequencies above 100 Hz. Active actuating elements may easily be included in the proposed design to attain an active isolation unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)164-175
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2000
EventSmart Structures and Materials 2000 - Industrial and Commercial Applications of Smart Structures Technologies - Newport Beach, CA, USA
Duration: Mar 7 2000Mar 9 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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