Large Space Structures-Structural Concepts and Materials 872429
Large space structures will be a key element of our future space activities. They will include spacecraft such as the planned Space Station and large antenna/reflector structures for communications and observations. These large structures will exceed 100 m in length or 30 m in diameter. Concepts for construction of these spacecraft on orbit and their materials of construction provide some unique research challenges. This paper will provide an overview of our research in space construction of large structures including erectable and deployable concepts. Also, an approach to automated, on-orbit construction will be presented. Materials research for space applications focuses on high stiffness, low expansion composite materials that provide adequate durability in the space environment. The status of these materials research activities will be discussed.