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Self-Deployable Self-Stiffening And Retractable Space Structure (SDSR) Mechanism

ID: 2018-031 The SDSR is origami-based, fabricated using planar materials, folds up to stow into small volumes, self-deploys, maintains stiffness, and is retractable.

Principal Investigator: Spencer Magleby

Origami-based design allows for the fabrication of large-area planar materials such as solar cells, antenna array elements, mirrors, etc. to be folded into the small volumes required to transport space structures. Several technologies exist that allow large deployable space structures to be packaged on the ground and deployed after launch in space. The SDSR addresses the challenges that current technologies have as it does not require external deployment, support, stiffening, or retracting mechanisms.

SDSRs obtain stiffness via the preloading of restraint cables. Restraint cables are fastened to adjacent panels within the SDSR reacting the moments in the panels induced by the strained compliant joints connecting the panels. The cables are sized to form the SDSR into a desired global shape.

Because the SDSR never obtains its fully-flat state (a bifurcation state of the mechanism), kinematics are preserved and the SDSR can be predictably retracted using reeling cables. Full or partial retraction can be used to increase stiffness of the SDSR while the spacecraft performs maneuvers or to protect against collision when travelling through micrometeoroid clouds.

About the Market:

The SDSR was developed for aerospace applications, particularly for use as deployable space structures with functionality as solar arrays or antennas. Other earthly applications could include solar arrays and antennas – similar benefits would be realized for transportation, deployment, protection, etc. The invention could also be used for shelters, art instalments like kinetic sculptures, or any other deployable products.

For more information, contact Spencer Rogers (801-422-3676)

Links and Resources

  1. One Page Summary PDF
  2. Inventor Webpage
  3. Complaint Mechanisms Research Group Webpage