Journal of Failure Analysis and Prevention

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 457–464 | Cite as

Failure Analysis of a Launch Vehicle Umbilical Shutter Mechanism During Vibration Qualification

  • V. Murugesan
  • P. S. Sreejith
  • M. Gopakumar
  • P. Damodaran
  • M. Premdas
Case History---Peer-Reviewed


Payload fairing (PLF) of a launch vehicle is exposed to harsh vibration environments due to jet noise during liftoff and in-flight aerodynamic noise. Accordingly, the systems mounted on the payload fairing are to be qualified for the vibration levels, predicted corresponding to the envelope of acoustic spectrums at critical instants of atmospheric flight. This paper presents a detailed study of a failure observed on the payload cooling umbilical system, mounted on the cylindrical portion of the PLF structure, during its design qualification vibration testing. The umbilical shutter inadvertently opened during the test. The vibration responses on the shutter, the dynamic behavior of the system, and the forces and moments on the mechanism are analyzed, and the physics of failure is understood. The design marginality is identified, and the shutter locking mechanism reconfigured to achieve the desired level of robustness in the system.


Failure mode Umbilical shutter Vibration response Transmissibility Forces and moments 



Finite element


Overall acoustic sound pressure level


Payload fairing


Power spectral density

List of symbols






Bandwidth of frequency


Natural frequency


Frictional force


Spring force


Resultant force on the shutter clamp


Vertical component of the force Fsh


Horizontal component of the force Fsh


Acceleration in g units


Root-mean-square acceleration response


Hertz, Unit of frequency


Resonant amplification factor



Authors wish to thank Director, VSSC, for the continuous support in carrying out the study and permitting to publish the paper. Authors gratefully acknowledge the vibration testing support and test data provided by ISDTF facility.


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Copyright information

© ASM International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • V. Murugesan
    • 1
  • P. S. Sreejith
    • 2
  • M. Gopakumar
    • 1
  • P. Damodaran
    • 1
  • M. Premdas
    • 1
  1. 1.Vikram Sarabhai Space CentreThiruvananthapuramIndia
  2. 2.Cochin University of Science and TechnologyCochinIndia

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