Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Alan L. Jennings, PhD.


Large deployable space structures require an inordinate amount of effort to fully design and test on Earth. To aid in the determination of the feasibility of the reflector, a method to simulate the structure's deployment was developed using COMSOL. The simulation model is comprised of a locking hinge truss that constitutes the partial reflector structure. To meet computational and temporal restrictions, the structure is simplified to use simple beams with square cross sections and is meshed to a sufficient accuracy with second order elements. The geometry is modeled in the truss's stowed configuration, with the connecting hinges and applied forces created via constraint equations in COMSOL. Many different simulations were run with varied design parameters in order to demonstrate the global motion of the deploying truss under differing conditions and to also showcase the capabilities of COMSOL's implicit solver. It was found through all of the simulation variations that the success of the truss's deployment is largely dependent on the condition of the lower truss members as well as the interaction between the spring-loaded hinges and tension cables. The results demonstrate how COMSOL can be used to aid in the advancement of the Large Deployable Space Aperture Reflector design.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number