Browse Publications Technical Papers 2006-01-2063

The Applicability of Past Innovative Concepts to the Technology for New Extremely Large Space Antenna/Telescope Structures 2006-01-2063

Early development of concepts for space structures up to 1000 meters in size was initiated in the early 1960's and carried through the 1970's. The enabling technologies were self-deployables, on-orbit assembly, and on-orbit manufacturing. Because of the lack of interest due to the astronomical cost associated with advancing the on-orbit assembly and manufacturing technologies, only self-deployable concepts were subsequently pursued.
However, for over 50 years, potential users of deployable antennas for radar, radiometers, planar arrays, VLBF and others, are still interested and constantly revising the requirements for larger and higher precision structures. This trend persists today.
An excellent example of this trend is the current DARPA/SPO ISAT Program that applies self-deployable structures technology to a 300 meter long active planar array radar antenna. This ongoing program has created a rare opportunity for innovative advancement of state-of-the-art concepts. The current DARPA program plan is dependent on a successful Critical Design Review (CDR) in June 2006, tentatively followed by a 90-100 meter orbital demonstration in 2009, and, if successful, a full-scale operational system on orbit in 2012.
If the ISAT program is able to demonstrate technology readiness at 300 meters, then the next generation of large missions that includes even larger ISATs, could set the performance level for future structures technologies. If such a situation does transpire, then a review of early, innovative/forgotten concepts for such structures is advantageous.
This paper will address these issues and provide an example for the combination of the very old with the very new technologies that have the potential for enabling “huge” future space systems.


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