Morphing tensegrity space platforms

Kaila M. Roffman, George A. Lesieutre

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

5 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the potential utility of tensegrity structures for use in large area-spanning shape-changing space “platforms.” Among many potential platforms, this paper addresses parabolic, RF mesh reflectors. Cylindrical tensegrities are arranged adjacently to construct a planar 2-D platform. Different arrangements and configurations using cylindrical triplex and quadruplex tensegrity units are considered, both for their ability to grid together effectively, as well as for their ability to assume shapes adjacent to the initial 2-D configuration. Since the large-scale structures of interest will not be launched as a single payload, tensegrity modules are identified and explored with a view toward initial deployment followed by in-space assembly. Methods are developed to assess the surface geometry of a tensegrity-based reflector relative to that of a prescribed paraboloid. A six-unit triplex module offers ease of assembly, effective hexagonal surface gridding, and the ability to achieve prescribed surface shapes accurately. A four-unit quadruplex module offers similarly promising prospects for efficient assembly, gridding and shape change. The results indicate promise for the continued development of a lightweight, efficient, stiff module which can be assembled in space to construct shape-changing platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2021 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9781624106095
StatePublished - 2021
EventAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jan 11 2021Jan 15 2021

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2021 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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