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RecurDyn Successfully Simulates Flexible Solar Array Space Structures for NASA

Two papers describing the work were presented at the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Conference

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January 9, 2016 - Two papers about the application of RecurDyn to NASA space structures were presented at theĀ American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) SciTech Conference.

The first paper introduces a case which could not be simulated by traditional nonlinear Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software due to convergence problems and excessively long run times. But RecurDyn Multibody Dynamics Software could complete the simulation successfully and with high fidelity. (One of the tube models used for comparison was simulated by RecurDyn in 5 minutes, as compared to a 6 hour run time using traditional nonlinear FEA code.)

The second paper introduced the automation process of the above case, using customized user interface dialogs and other application-specific model entities.

The two papers are described below, and are also listed in the White Papers.

View White Paper on Active Control of Solar Array Dynamics During Spacecraft Maneuvers

Active Control of Solar Array Dynamics During Spacecraft Maneuvers

Recent NASA mission plans require spacecraft to undergo potentially significant maneuvers (or dynamic loading events) with large solar arrays deployed. Therefore there is an increased need to understand and possibly control the nonlinear dynamics in the spacecraft system during such maneuvers. The development of a nonlinear controller is described. The utility of using a nonlinear controller to reduce forces and motion in a solar array wing during a loading event is demonstrated. The result is dramatic reductions in system forces and motion during a 10 second loading event. A motion curve derived from the simulation with the closed loop controller is used to obtain similar benefits with a simpler motion control approach.

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View White Paper on Simulating the Deployment of a Flexible Roll-Up Solar Array Using Multi-Body Dynamics Software

Simulation of the Deployment of a Flexible Roll-Up Solar Array Using Multi-Body Dynamics Software

Future missions to the outer planets will require significant power that may be provided by large, 300 kW class, flexible roll-up solar arrays. To support the development of these arrays there is high value in simulating the nonlinear dynamics of stowing, deploying, and performance of large deployable solar array structures, especially with the profound limitations of physical testing. Physical testing of prototypes on earth with gravity can be difficult or impossible. Multi-body dynamics software is an ideal platform for developing simulations modeling deployment of flexible, spacecraft structures. This paper presents a dynamic simulation of the deployment of a roll-up solar array using multi-body dynamics modeling software. Additionally, the paper presents the development of a set of software tools that automate tedious tasks associated with developing models of these structures. The tools will aid in the development of future simulation of structures using roll-up boom technology.

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