The Applicability of Past Innovative Concepts to the Technology for New Extremely Large Space Antenna/Telescope Structures
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.