Deformable Reflector

Deformable Reflector

Satellite Datalink 2.4 Meter Dimensionally Tunable Reflector

 

Satellite Datalink 2.4 Meter Deformable Reflector

 

 

Application

Commercial. Dimensionally tunable for a space datalink application.

Previous Limiting Technology

Previous ultra-precision reflectors (RMS <0.003”) have been cost prohibitive for much of the commercial sector. By creating a design with sections that are discretely deformed utilizing an active backing structure, this dish can optimize its shape and RF performance while meeting more constrained cost targets.

Challenge

The customer requested a large (2.4 meter) reflector with a high degree of accuracy (RMS target of <0.003”). Additionally the reflector also required a back-up structure than enabled a deformable design through the use of an active tensegrity structure utilizing titanium-composite struts to achieve the correct shape adjustments. This objective was to optimize performance with both a high precision molded surface but also self-adjust to correct effects due to thermal and atmospheric conditions.

Solution

Rock West utilized high accuracy monolithic graphite tooling and a hybrid composite sandwich design to balance stiffness and deformability requirements. This sandwich structure was then augmented with a carbon fiber composite isometric grid attaching at discreet attachment nodes. The reflector surface is treated with a conductive paint applied with high accuracy. The results were a measured 65.2 dB gain vs. baseline/target of 57.7 dB.

Product/Service Areas

Stable Structures, RF Structures, Design and Engineering, Prototypes.

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