Deployable structures with quadrilateral reticulations

Patent US8384613

Description

AFRL has developed a non-planar surface support structure that is compatible with deployable thin shell reflector segments. The structure is composed of multiple four strut closed loops connected to compliant hinges at the nodes to create an effective surface.

Reflector concepts are generally characterized as mesh, deformable solid surface, segmented solid surface, or a combination of these approaches. Mesh reflectors tension an open knit resilient fabric into a faceted shape that approximates the desired surface and reacts the tension with a compression structure. Deformable surface approaches include inflatable reflectors, spring-back reflectors and concertina folded reflectors. Spring-back reflectors deform the reflector surface into a cylindrical shape compatible with launch vehicles. Segmented reflectors split the surface into a finite number of rigid panels that are folded inward to reduce the diameter of the structure.

Abstract

A non-planar surface support structure that is compatible with deployable thin shell reflector segments. The structure is composed of multiple four strut closed loops connected to compliant hinges at the nodes to create an effective surface. The deployed surface shape is determined by the strut lengths (L) and the node locations and the packaged compatibility constraint in which L1+L3−L2−L4 approximately equals zero. Each of the compliant hinges have degrees of freedom such that the compact configuration of the support structure is obtained by the translation of two opposite nodes of each loop upwards and the remaining two nodes downwards in a continuous process until all struts are approximately parallel and tightly bundled and the hinges lock out all degrees of freedom in the deployed configuration.

  • Space structures (antennae, solar power arrays, thermal radiators, communications reflectors, radar apertures, sun shades, and solar sails, as well as the hinges, struts, and frames used in their construction)

TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVEL (TRL)

TRL 3: Analytical and experimental critical function and/or characteristic proof of concept Active R&D is initiated. This includes analytical studies and laboratory studies to physically validate the analytical predictions of separate elements of the technology. Examples include components that are not yet integrated or representative.
Air Force Research Laboratory- Space Vehicles Directorate (RV) logo

Air Force Research Laboratory- Space Vehicles Directorate (RV)

Kirtland AFB, NM

Advantages

  • Self-deployable
  • Collapsible
  • Lightweight