Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Jonathan T. Black, PhD.


Satellite cost and mission capability are very sensitive to mass requirements. Mass or volume savings in one component will either lower total spacecraft mass, or provide greater margin for design error in other components. Solar arrays and antennas in particular are often driven by launch vehicle volume constraints instead of mission needs. Deployable structures provide more on-orbit area for both solar arrays and antennas, while occupying less space during launch. These structures therefore, help address these constraints and have been proven as efficient solutions for many years. Tape springs are one example in this category of structures which offer greater reliability for less mass and for a variety of configurations. This thesis compares a large number of trials on bending tape springs to characterize the behavior with respect to the tape spring geometry (radius, subtended angle, thickness and width) and load conditions (inertia, bend angle and skew angle). These tape spring trials measure representative unconstrained deployment trajectories to provide a representative dataset for comparison against previous and future models. Error trends are identified with respect to bend angle, skew angle, tape spring width, and tape spring thickness. Then an optimized model which characterizes these trends is fitted to the experimental data. This optimized model supports the hinge dependence on bend angle and skew angle, but is inconclusive with respect to the remaining design parameters.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number