Asymmetric Payload Fairing
ATA’s patent-pending large asymmetric fairing was developed under SBIR funding from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) at Kirtland AFB. The asymmetric fairing was designed to accommodate very large payloads on the Atlas V Heavy Launch Vehicle (HLV) while maintaining structural requirements and current control authority limits of the launch vehicle.
The asymmetric fairing provides up to twice the payload volume of existing cylindrical fairings. It enables transformational design of future payloads by removing the form factor restrictions on the packaging of satellites and spacecraft imposed by current fairing architectures. By changing the payload packaging envelope, there is potentially a large reduction in the complexity, and associated cost, of spacecraft deployment mechanisms. For non-mass-critical payloads, this new form factor may also allow use of smaller launch vehicles to launch a given payload.
An optimal design was achieved through the use of an innovative Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)-based geometric optimization, composite structural tailoring, and novel manufacturing methods. The design was validated through correlation with subscale wind tunnel testing. The final design is a composite sandwich structure that meets or exceeds strength, buckling, flutter, thermal, and acoustic requirements and does not require significant modifications to existing launch pad integration facilities. The geometry, methods, and processes have wider applicability to the whole range of launch vehicle sizes and can increase the payload capabilities of each by offering fairings which are tailored specifically to existing control capability.
Features and Benefits
- Accommodates very large asymmetric payload geometries while operating within existing engine thrust vector control and launch vehicle structural capabilities
- Fits within existing vertical integration facilities
- Increases available payload volume by up to 100%
- CFD-optimized design performance verified through extensive wind tunnel testing of scale model
- Design and manufacturing approach is scalable to wide range of launch vehicles sizes and architectures
- Can significantly reduce launch costs by allowing geometrically large but lightweight structures to be launched on smaller launch vehicles than currently possible
- Lightweight, all-composite construction
- Detailed manufacturing and integration trade studies have been conducted
- Patented design (US Patent No. 8,157,216)
For more information about ATA’s large asymmetric fairing, please contact us.
Related Technical Papers
Ochinero, T., J. Higgins, E. Blades, and J. Newman. “Design and Testing of a Large Composite Asymmetric Payload Fairing.” 50th AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference, Palm Springs, Apr 2009.