Configuration

After selecting the material to be used in the design, a proper designconfiguration must be developed. The approach to designing the configuration is more trial and error than following an equation. For a configuration to be acceptable it must meet some design criteria. The design of the configuration for the solar array structure must account for mass distribution, ease of manufacture, and structural integrity.

Mass Distribution

The mass distribution design of the structure is influenced by inertial moments and stability. The stability of the structure is dependent on the Earthıs gravity. As the structure rotates about its primary axis the Earthıs gravitational pull will cause the rotation to dampen unless the structure is symmetric about that axis. Inertial moments should be minimized for improved attitude control. A large inertial moment within the structure will require more power from booster rockets to control the rotation of the array.3

Ease of Manufacture

The material must first be manufacturable before it can meet the design requirements. A complex design may require unproven construction techniques leading to possible failure of the structure. Long struts also present a problem. It would be impractical to build a solid rod one kilometer in length. However, the space program initiates many new manufacturing processes to implement current designs. These manufacturing processes include development of new techniques to handle state of the art materials such as titanium alloys. If possible, proven manufacturing techniques should be used. These existing techniques have been tested and improved upon through numerous applications. Substantial cost savings can result from using established manufacturing processes.3

Structural Integrity

Structural integrity is the ability of the configuration to keep the array stable, resisting moments and forces acting on the array. Any variation of the array from planar will result in inefficient collecting of solar energy. Permanent deformation of the structure may result in a complete failure of the mission. Without the solar array facing the Sun and completely extended the SPS will not produce the necessary amount of energy. Support struts must be analytically proven to withstand the maximum amount of forces the structure may encounter.