SpaceTech developed a modular damping system for satellite reaction wheels. Minimizations of two factors were intended, the transmitted vibrations of the reaction wheel to the satellite and the transmitted vibrations of the satellite to the momentum wheel.

The design

A damping system prototype with adjustable characterization for both cases was designed and produced.
The system and interfaces can be adapted to any reaction wheel, S/C interface and mission.

The test component shows an excellent functional performance for vibrations from the satellite to the reaction wheel and in opposite direction. 

Key features
  • Very significant damping of micro-vibrations during space mission
  • Very significant protection against launch loads, particularly at higher frequencies
  • Adjust natural frequencies for launch (high loads) and in orbit (low loads) fairly independent thanks to load dependent stiffness (random and shock environment will not any more cause degradation of ball bearing quality of the reaction wheels)
  • Adjust performance to mission needs
  • No launch lock necessary
  • Reduced loads for existing wheel to avoid pre-damage of flight ball bearings before flight
  • Better compliance to micro vibration requirements especially for high frequencies