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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Simulating CubeSat Structure Deployment Dynamics, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

There is high value in simulating the nonlinear dynamics of stowing, deploying, and performance of deployable space structures, especially given the profound limitations of physical testing. Dynamic simulation can reduce the risk of developing new deployable space structures, including solar arrays, by predicting transient motions and loads during stowage, deployment, and mission-related maneuvers. Dynamic simulation can also be used to assess the efficacy of using motion control to mitigate the effect of accelerations on the response of the space structure. The proposed innovations of this proposal are: 1) Development of a general automated process to efficiently take a detailed hinge assembly model and simulate its range of motion while retrieving stiffness information for all degrees of freedom and convert that data to define a simple but accurate nonlinear point-to-point force for use in the solar array assembly model, 2) Development and simulation of a high-fidelity system-level model of the deployment dynamics of an commercial deployable solar array that was designed for use with a 6U cubesat, and 3) Review and evaluation of the hinge assembly simplification process and the modeling approach by an independent resource. The significance of the proposed innovation is: 1) This work builds upon previous simulation success with a split-tube solar array by adding a new automated method to efficiently develop an accurate but simplified representation of the connections used on rigid panel solar arrays, 2) This is an initial engagement with the products of the smallsat community and a commercial cubesat solar array will be simulated. The successful results may encourage the smallsat community to use this technology, thereby reducing technical risk, 3) The simulation of a commercial cubesat solar array in this project potentially leads to obtaining validation comparisons between the simulation and physical test results during a corresponding Phase II effort. More »

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