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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Design and Analysis Tools for Deployable Solar Array Systems

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Design and Analysis Tools for Deployable Solar Array Systems
Large, lightweight, deployable solar array structures have been identified as a key enabling technology for NASA with analysis and design of these structures being the top challenge in meeting the overall goals of the NASA Space Technology Roadmap. The use of analysis to drive design from an early stage is critical to their success, yet conflicting design requirements and demanding space constraints make traditional design/build/test methods challenging and expensive. The proposed SBIR program focuses on overcoming this through the development of a user-friendly multi-disciplinary design and analysis software toolkit that can rapidly perform parametric studies and design optimization of solar array concepts. The software package will provide a graphical user interface and underlying analysis procedures to evaluate critical performance metrics (e.g. deployment, packaging efficiency, strength, stiffness, mass, etc.), while eliminating the unnecessary pre-processing and computational overhead associated with current approaches. The user will be able to interactively investigate effects of design parameter changes (e.g. array geometry, size, number of panels/sections, joint properties, control system parameters) on critical performance metrics and analysis results. Analysis capabilities will include flexible multi-body dynamics, array deployment, loading due to thrust, and modal analysis. Parametric study and design optimization capabilities will also be key features of the tool. Model creation will be simplified through the use of an extensible, hierarchical blockset solution and a library of blocks specific to deployable solar array analysis. The Phase I effort will focus on developing accurate analysis capabilities, a parametric study workflow, and the GUI for controlling them and interpreting results. Phase II will incorporate additional analysis types (e.g. thermal, uncertainty propagation, sensitivity analysis, etc.) as well as a design optimization framework. More »

Anticipated Benefits

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

Technology Transitions

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