Deployment dynamics of an inflatable solar array

A. L. Clem, S. W. Smith, J. A. Main

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Mathematical simulations of the deployment of an inflatable solar array through internal pressurization are presented. The simulations were developed to predict the deployment dynamics of the array in a micro-gravity environment to reflect the deployment and operation of the inflated array with a satellite or space station. Two parameters that were found to have a significant impact on deployment behavior were packed configuration and pressurization rate. Model verification is planned by comparing the model predictions to experimental data obtained aboard the NASA Zero-G KC-135. A notable behavior which was present in both the experimental data and the analytical model were structural 'hinge points' that migrated through the structures as the deployment sequence unfolded and verify at least the qualitative accuracy of the modeling approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2516-2523
Number of pages8
JournalCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structures, Structural Dynamics and Materials Conference
StatePublished - 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 AIAA/ASME/ASCE/AHS/ASC Structrures, Structural Dynamics, and Materials Conference and Exhibit - St. Louis, MO, USA
Duration: Apr 12 1999Apr 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Materials Science (all)
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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