Plug-and-Play Structures for Satellite Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The concept of a plug-and-play (PnP) deployable structure intended for configuration, verification and check-out, and deployment presents large challenges in meeting short duration cycling requirements. Specifically, state awareness technologies (e.g., embedded sensing arrays) must be designed and implemented such that transmission of relevant information (e.g., load, vibration, etc.) is permitted among platform components or sub-systems without reconfiguration, thus maintaining flexibility in rapidly evolving battlefield conditions. Specific forms of information content that comprise this assessment include structural health monitoring (SHM), which is the online detection, localization, and quantification of damage; damage prognosis (DP), which couples SHM assessments with predictive models for evaluating future performance; and shape/loads estimation, which estimates global displacement configuration and load and could be used to verify satisfactory deployment or task completion and to augment SHM/DP estimates. Tantamount to realizing this capability is the utilization of an appropriate sensing system that (i) can provide the data needed to extract such information; and (ii) meets the needs for a rapid redeployment cycle on the platform of interest. Fiber optic arrays are an attractive candidate with a number of advantages. Standard fiber optic sensing provides high-resolution, large-bandwidth strain data, suitable for SHM/DP and loads/shape estimation, with rapid array reconfiguration capability.
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