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Proceedings Paper

Engineered spacecraft deployables influenced by nature
Author(s): David Pohl; W. D. Wolpert
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Paper Abstract

Northrop Grumman has been a leader in the space industry for over 50 years, and in fact was the first in the industry to produce a contractor-built spacecraft. Since the dawn of the Space Age and that Pioneer-1 spacecraft, every sub-system that makes up a spacecraft has grown in capability. One of the most visible changes to a spacecraft that enables these enhanced capabilities is the variety of appendages called deployable systems. These systems include solar arrays, antenna reflectors, telescopes and a current design for a tennis court sized sunshield. While the end product may look very different and perform different functions, all deployable systems share certain common attributes. Among these are: a latch mechanism for the deployable restraining it to the spacecraft for launch, an unlatching or release mechanism once orbit is achieved, an energy storage device or driving mechanism for deployment and a re-latching, or sometimes a repositioning device for orientation of the system during the mission. This paper describes these space-based systems and draws some comparisons with various natural analogs. While it may not be the case that the aerospace engineer is attempting to duplicate natural systems, it is almost certain that spacecraft deployable systems have been influenced by nature.

Paper Details

Date Published: 10 September 2009
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 7424, Advances in Optomechanics, 742408 (10 September 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.823960
Show Author Affiliations
David Pohl, Northrop Grumman (United States)
W. D. Wolpert, Bio-Optics (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7424:
Advances in Optomechanics
Alson E. Hatheway, Editor(s)

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