1310. Weight and Performance Benefits of Space-Fabricated Composite Structures


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L Browning: 1310. Weight and Performance Benefits of Space-Fabricated Composite Structures. 1979.



The space fabrication approach to large satellite construction involves the automated on orbit manufacture and assembly of continuous triangular beams of arbitrary length. This paper discusses the ways by which this technique, and the composite element it produces, enhances the various phases of satellite construction and operation. Specific topics include: a brief review of the arrangement and functional description of the beam
fabricator; a survey of the benefits provided by both the configuration of the basic beam and by the form and type of beam material; and the applicability of the basic beam to a wide variety of large space structures. Emphasis is placed on the two-fold benefit of beam simplicity: weight is minimized by the elimination of most non-optimum weight elements inherent in beams constructed by other means, which simultaneously provides versatility in its mode of application to primary structure and in its compatibility with both internal and external component installation, Many studies continue to investigate the application of space fabricated beams to both Shuttle era and future mammoth spacecraft. Several applications evaluated in recent in-house and funded studies are discussed. Configurations include space frames, planar and contoured surfaces for antennas and solar energy collection, and ‘tri-beams’ for near term spacecraft and as elements of much larger a systems such as SPS. The associated configuration unique construction jigs and the important role of selective EVA in conjunction with this largely automated approach are also presented, followed by a brief summary.


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