Spacecraft

Miller Engineering & Research Corporation (MERC) employees have supported many satellite projects over the years and have current focus areas in support of those projects. Our primary areas of focus are:

  • Spacecraft Electronics
    • Circuit Design Analysis
    • Failure Analysis
    • Reliability Analysis
    • EMI/EMC Test Planning and Execution
    • Thermal Analysis
  • Spacecraft Structural Design
      • Solid Modeling
  • Spacecraft Structural Analysis
    • Finite Element Modeling
    • Dynamics Modeling (Craig-Bampton)
    • Separation Analysis
    • Vibration Test Planning and Analysis
    • Acoustic Test Planning and Analysis

MERC has extensive experience in systems engineering not only with NASA, but also within the DoD, including the missile defense industry, and with the commercial aircraft industry. MERC can define user requirements, develop A-level requirements, provide specifications, develop sub-system level (B-level) requirements and specifications, and provide work packages to meet these requirements (C-level). MERC is effective at working with the user community, whether scientists or the warfighter, to ensure their requirements are understood and addressed as part of any task we perform.  This systems-level approach is built into MERC product deliverables.

MERC has extensive integration and test experience. Much of this was gained within the commercial aircraft industry and within NASA’s sub-orbital sounding rocket program. These programs allowed for a cradle-to-grave experience that all programs follow no matter the level of complexity or program period of performance. The key to success in the integration and test environment is knowing how to proceed when things go wrong, knowing how to effectively evaluate test forensics, and make sound decisions that “do no harm” to the unit or payload under test. Our test experience includes:

  • James Webb Space Telescope – Instrument Command & Data Handling Electronics, ISIM Remote Sensing Unit Electronics, Micro-shutter Control Electronics, Focal Plane Array Electronics, OSIM Structure Math Model Verification Testing @40K
  • Roman Space Telescope – Wide Field Instrument, WFI Opto-Mechanical Assembly
  • Ocean Color Instrument – Instrument Comprehensive Functional Testing and Calibration
  • OSAM-1 – EDU, ETU and Flight Electronics Test Planning and Execution, Robotic Arm Development
  • Sounding Rocket Program – Goddard and Wallops Island, VA; Supported 35 missions
  • World View Satellites – Kodak Commercial and Government Systems
  • Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS)
  • Theoretical Studies and Engineering Services (TSER)
  • Classified Satellites for DoD customers

MERC’s expertise in structural analysis is forged on work performed for both commercial and government satellite projects. This enables us to efficiently provide high fidelity analysis that can pass rigorous peer review. Our most recent experience includes analysis for the following projects:

  • GOES-R
  • LADEE
  • TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) for which we have provided
    • instrument developing and testing
    • instrument spacecraft integration
    • spacecraft mechanical support
    • observatory launch vehicle integration and launch mechanical support
    • on orbit deployment support
MERC has many years of experience working with NASA in the development of electro-mechanical systems for spaceflight, beginning with the Sounding Rocket Division. These mechanisms supported the science objectives of the mission by allowing for instrument viewing and protection after the data collection phase is completed. This included large motorized door systems for x-ray observations and smaller end viewing systems for telescopes.The knowledge gained with the sounding rocket division was re-used to support the attached space shuttle payloads in the form of motorized door assemblies for the “Getaway Special” and “Hitchhiker” Programs. This included systems ensure pressure differentials were adequate before the door was opened to the vacuum of space. We performed initial design, prototype testing, final design, thermal vacuum testing, and vibration testing and EMI/EMC testing. Most recently, MERC provides electro-mechanical mechanisms support to the Wide Field Systems Engineering group for Roman Space Telescope.