Alternative forms of energy must be obtained in order to sustain thepresent way of life because of the expanding population and the depletion of fossil fuels. The use of Solar Power Satellites (SPS) is one alternative form of power. This paper details the design process to develop a deploymentmechanism for a 1km2 solar array. The solar array is only a small subsystemof the overall project.
The paper will discuss the many different design concepts that wereconsidered. These include an SMA(Smart Memory Alloy), a truss structure, a centripetal design, and an inflatable design. In choosing the final design concept, several different constraints were considered. The number of launches, the amount of structural support, construction, reliability, and the amount of maintenance required were considered.
An inflatable structure was chosen for the deployment mechanism. Details of the design and analysis of an inflatable structure are outlined. The reasons are given for the final design selection.