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Raytheon Touts Lower-Cost Design Capability

By | May 22, 2006

      Raytheon Co. [RTN] developed a design process that cuts costs for space customers, the company said.

      This involves a patented software tool called TopAct that enables space hardware manufacturers to use lighter and cheaper designs with more readily available parts, thus providing better value for the space customer, according to Raytheon.

      Designers usually employ a large design margin to compensate for uncertainties in the space environment. To ensure hardware survives damaging space radiation, aerospace manufacturers use increased shielding weight and specialty parts for more protection against radiation, driving up the cost of payloads and spacecraft.

      But TopAct provides a significantly more accurate environmental assessment, according to Raytheon, enabling lighter and less expensive designs.

      TopAct may save space customers millions of dollars by providing time-efficient, high fidelity models needed to optimize designs during the engineering phase of large and complex systems, according to the company.

      The TopAct engineering module leverages an adaptive modeling framework (AML) created by Ohio-based software company TechnoSoft. Its collaboration with Raytheon was made possible through the Department of Defense Small Business Innovation Research Program.

      “The combination of AML and TopAct will enable our engineers to search a broader set of radiation-hard product design configurations, rather than resorting to more shielding,” said Steven Manson, Raytheon chief architect on the TopAct team.

      According to Raytheon, TopAct automates the translation of the “as-designed” CAD (computer aided design) files of the spacecraft and its subsystems (down to the critical functional component level) into file formats utilized by standard radiation transport codes like MCNPx (Monte Carlo N-Particle Transport).

      Together with space radiation environment information, an accurate assessment of the transported environment to the critical components is obtained, the company stated.

      Implementation of TopAct will enable optimal spot shielding configurations.

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