Simulation of the Deployment of a Flexible Roll-Up Solar Array Using Multi-Body Dynamics Software


Solar Array Roll-out

Future missions to the outer planets will require significant power that may be provided by large, 300 kW class, flexible roll-up solar arrays. To support the development of these arrays there is high value in simulating the nonlinear dynamics of stowing, deploying, and performance of large deployable solar array structures, especially with the profound limitations of physical testing. Physical testing of prototypes on earth with gravity can be difficult or impossible. Multi-body dynamics software is an ideal platform for developing simulations modeling deployment of flexible, spacecraft structures.

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This paper presents a dynamic simulation of the deployment of a roll-up solar array using multi-body dynamics modeling software. Additionally, the paper presents the development of a set of software tools that automate tedious tasks associated with developing models of these structures. The tools will aid in the development of future simulation of structures using roll-up boom technology.

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