Today, MSC Software is a world-renowned software provider. But did you know that it all once started with a groundbreaking program called NASTRAN? The name will surely ring a bell. The story goes a few decades back, and there have been many exciting developments throughout the years. In this blog, we’d like to share a little of that history. Will you go on a fast trip down memory lane with us?

From origins to commercial release

A finite element analysis (FEA) program, NASTRAN was originally developed for NASA by two professors (Dr Richard H. MacNeal and Robert Schwendler) back in the 1960s. The original objective was to write an application that would facilitate the design of more efficient space vehicles. But before long, the scope of NASTRAN’s use was expanded: NASA’s Office of Technology Utilization released it to the public. Now that commercial use was enabled, NASTRAN could help solve a range of burning issues. Its ability to analyze the behavior of elastic structures of any shape and size, regardless of their purpose, proved particularly useful.

For example, the processes of designing steering linkages and front suspension systems in the automative industry have greatly benefited from the program. The same goes for railroad tracks, power plants, bridges, and aircraft. From 1971 to 1984, NASTRAN’s simulation possibilities have resulted in an estimated $701 million cost saving.

Hall of Fame and ongoing development

With so many obvious advantages, it is hardly surprising that in 1988, NASTRAN was one of the first technologies to be inducted into the U.S. Space Foundation’s Space Technology Hall of Fame.

In the meantime, the program was constantly developed. Over the years, many new versions have enriched their predecessors with improved analysis capability and numerical performance. As a result, NASTRAN is still widely used in the automotive, aerospace, and maritime industries across the globe. Today, many consider it the go-to program – and even the industry standard – for performing analyses on aerospace structures.

NASTRAN in action: request a demo!

As you have read, NASTRAN offers a wealth of options. Want to know what your opportunities are and reap the benefits of this ingenious program? Don’t hesitate to contact me and request a demo!

Mathijs Pont

An engineer by heart, but equipped with a commercial mindset. Mathijs has gained experience with new, exciting technologies like metal, composite, and plastic Additive Manufacturing, but he also loves the conventional, robust ways of getting things done. Also, he is a huge fan of rugby.