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On an innovative deployment concept for large space structures
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2012 (English)In: 42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2012Conference paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Large deployable space structures are mission-critical technologies for which deployment failure cannot be an option. The difficulty to fully reproduce and test on ground the deployment of large systems dictates the need for extremely reliable architectural concepts. In 2010, ESA promoted a study focused at the pre-development of breakthrough architectural concepts offering superior reliability. The study, which was performed as an initiative of ESA Small Medium Enterprises Office (, by Kayser Italia at its premises in Livorno (Italy), with Universita' di Roma TorVergata (Rome, Italy) as sub-contractor and consultancy from KTH (Stockholm, Sweden), led to the identification of an innovative large deployable structure of "tensegrity" type, which achieves the required reliability because it permits a drastic reduction in the number of articulated joints in comparison with non-tensegrity architectures. The identified target application was in the field of large antenna reflectors. The project focused on the overall architecture of a deployable system and the related design implications. With a view toward verifying experimentally the performance of the deployable structure, a reduced-scale breadboard model was designed and manufactured. A gravity off-loading system was designed and implemented, so as to check deployment functionality in a 1-g environment. Finally, a test campaign was conducted, to validate the main design assumptions as well as to ensure the concept's suitability for the selected target application. The test activities demonstrated satisfactory stiffness, deployment repeatability, and geometric precision in the fully deployed configuration. The test data were also used to validate a finite element model, which predicts a good static and dynamic behavior of the full-scale deployable structure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2012.
Keyword [en]
Architectural concepts, Deployable structure, Deployment concepts, Design implications, Geometric precision, Large space structure, Small medium enterprise, Static and dynamic behaviors, Antenna reflectors, Space applications, Space stations, Architecture
National Category
Engineering and Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-128956DOI: 10.2514/6.2012-3601ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84880989776ISBN: 978-160086934-1OAI: diva2:649863
42nd International Conference on Environmental Systems 2012, ICES 2012; 15 July 2012 through 19 July 2012, San Diego, California

QC 20130919

Available from: 2013-09-19 Created: 2013-09-17 Last updated: 2013-09-19Bibliographically approved

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Tibert, Gunnar
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