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With more than 40 years experience, Astrium Satellites have been developing satellites ranging from
global security and defence, to local in-car navigation. Simulation is crucial for the high
standards of quality demanded for space applications, the cost efficiency required by customers
and the timely delivery they expect.
Astrium Satellites use Siemens Femap® as their pre/post processor for analysis – supplied and
supported by TEAM Engineering – to help achieve their tight deadlines in such a demanding
Femap is extensively used by Astrium Satellites 9 for the iterative process of creating, checking and
viewing models, processing model results and exploring alternatives. Siemens’ VisView®
software is also used within Astrium to view Catia® software VPM (Virtual Product Modeling)
CAD data; this allows the user to navigate to the chosen item and then import the CATIA V4
or V5 model directly into Femap using the Application Programming Interface (API). Over the
course of a project, this can reduce many hours of looking for files.
In particular, Astrium uses Femap for the creation and analysis on one of its leading products,
the Eurostar telecommunications platform. The Y wall is one of the most complicated areas
of the platform with many heat pipes (both internal and external), floors, equipment and strut
interfaces present. ‘At the moment, model development typically takes six months within
an overall analysis process of one year,’ says Glenn Harris, Structural Analysis Engineer at
Astrium. ‘Our goal is to use Femap and its API to eventually automate this process, reducing the time by half through the use of templates, automation and improved access to CAD information.’