Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stephen A Whitmore


The Auroral Spatial Structures Probe (ASSP) mission is a sounding rocket mission studying solar energy input to space weather. ASSP requires the high velocity ejection (up to 50 m/s) of 6 secondary payloads, spin stabilized perpendicular to the ejection velocity. The proposed scientific instrumentation depends on a high degree of spin stability, requiring a maximum coning angle of less than 5º. It also requires that the spin axis be aligned within 25º of the local magnetic field lines. The maximum velocities of current ejection methods are typically less than 10m/s, and often produce coning angles in excess of 20º. Because of this they do not meet the ASSP mission requirements. To meet these requirements a new ejection method is being developed by NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Success of the technique in meeting coning angle and B-field alignment requirements is evaluated herein by modeling secondary payload dynamic behavior using a 6-DOF dynamic simulation employing state space integration written in MATLAB. Simulation results showed that secondary payload mass balancing is the most important factor in meeting stability requirements. Secondary mass payload properties will be measured using an inverted torsion pendulum. If moment of inertia measurement errors can be reduced to 0.5%, it is possible to achieve mean coning and B-field alignment angles of 2.16º and 2.71º, respectively.