Inflatable Structure Technique

A final possibility for deploying a large solar array is an inflatable structure method. An inflatable design has many characteristics that make it feasible option. The inflatable structure has the ability to be compacted to a very small volume, which satisfies the major problem of size limitation during transportation. An inflatable structure can be stored in less space than an equivalent solid structure. To minimize tangles in the structure during deployment, the structure must have an efficient folding technique.

Inflatable structures would be manufactured entirely on Earth and deployed in space. Deployment of the inflatable structure poses few difficulties because a minimal amount of mechanics are necessary to power or control the deployment. Inflatable structures are lower in cost than other equivalent structures. The overall structure is lighter and therefore easier and less costly to deploy.

Special considerations, such as material selection, must be taken in account for the inflatable design. The material chosen must be very flexible to withstand compression to a minimum volume. Also, the material must not stick to itself upon deployment