The Application of Expandable Honeycomb to the Fabrication of Space Structures
GCA VIRON DIV MINNEAPOLIS MN
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The exploration of space will undoubtedly require a wide variety of large structures. Several approaches to producing those large structures become immediately apparent. Small modules or components of the overall structure could be transported into the desired position and assembled into the overall structure. Another approach is to develop an expandable structure which has a small packaging volume and can be transported into the desired position in its fully assembled configuration. Of equal importance to the small packaging volume is the strength-to-weight ratio of the finished structure. Excess weight transported into the space environment means larger rockets and highly increased costs of launch. GCA Viron Division, in conjunction with several subcontractors, have developed a concept which produces a structure with a low packaging volume and provides high strength with a low weight penalty. This paper will discuss the development phases, materials research, fabrication techniques, experimental development, and actual model space structures which have been fabricated based on the expandable honeycomb concept.
- Structural Engineering and Building Technology