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Earth to Space Delivery Services℠ Faster and Affordable with ANSYS Simulation

earth to space delivery systemsThe rapid surge in consumer demand for mobility, connectivity and content has fundamentally changed the space industry. Space, as the ultimate vantage point, is a necessary destination to connect 55 percent of the world that does not have access to the internet. With miniaturization of technologies, capabilities that until now required large satellites the size of a bus with a billion-dollar price tag are being challenged by small satellites that are 12 inches long and weigh only 9 pounds. When constellations of 24 to 800 of these small satellites are established in low Earth orbit, the world will enjoy global WiFi, maritime connectivity, real-time navigation maps, precise weather forecasts, virtual reality in space and more.

While small satellite companies have demonstrated explosive growth in the last seven years, the absence of dedicated small payload launch services have significantly throttled this vibrant industry. Existing rockets are designed to accommodate large payloads and are, consequently, expensive, inaccessible and unreliable for small satellites.

Redefining Space Accessibility

Aevum, Inc. is breaking the digital divide by designing, building and operating a revolutionary launch vehicle named Ravn, capable of delivering small satellites to space 78 times faster than any other launch services for as low as $2,000 per kilogram.

Currently, hitching a ride on a larger rocket, with no adjustability in schedule or destination for small payloads, is about $55,700 per kilogram. Last year, using industry standard flight simulation and analysis tools, Aevum virtually launched a constellation of 30 satellites to a 500 km circular orbit in under 3 hours in our mission simulation center. Once operational, Ravn will redefine accessibility and open up space for everyone.

Aevum mission simulation center (left) and
the demonstrated 30-satellite constellation (right)

Building and flying Ravn requires domain expertise and boldly challenging the status quo of launch systems. Using advanced methods, Aevum is pushing the limitations of aerospace systems, hardware development and launch operations. Frequent characterization of Ravn is a key aspect of the vehicle maturation. However, traditional approaches to vehicle characterization are slow, cost prohibitive and limited. By joining the ANSYS Startup Program, Aevum established ANSYS technologies as an integral part of our hardware development process to radically increase design iterations and to build hardware quickly.

Day-to-day, Aevum engineers are breaking sound barriers in ANSYS Fluent, optimizing 3-D printed structures in ANSYS Mechanical and debating supersonic fluid dynamics using Legos (yes, we mean Lego toys, we have them at all of our team meetings). So far, we’ve run thousands of flight cases using ANSYS Fluent to guide our hardware design prior to testing.

Vorticity Map

Shown above is a vorticity map of a design feature at the aft end of the Ravn vehicle in the transonic flight regime generated with ANSYS Fluent. With such characterization capability and data visualization, we maximize the performance of our vehicle by coupling fluid dynamics to generative structural designs that mimic nature’s evolutionary approach to design.

Earth-to-Space Delivery Services℠

Aevum’s success will enable small satellite companies to connect millions of underprivileged families around the world through satellite constellations, empowering children in developing countries to self-educate and break their own barriers. We are very close to flight, and these final stages of development require the greatest rigor and engineering excellence. There are world-class challenges ahead, but the best minds in the industry have gotten behind Aevum to overcome them. As Aevum begins the assembly phase of our first prototype vehicle, we are honored to have ANSYS on our side each step of the way. We sincerely look forward to begin offering Earth-to-Space Delivery Services℠ to the public in the near future.