Proposed is a piece of extendible software for the rapid preliminary design and comparative evaluation of different solar array structures, equipped with modules for two cutting-edge array architectures of special interest for up to medium-large (<300 m2) applications such as near-term Lunar missions.
The software, based on the Microsoft Excel platform, will run on any computer with MS Office fully installed. It will consist of (a) a main user interface where different solar array designs can be compared via graphics and parameters, (b) worksheet modules for the design and evaluation of specific array architectures, and (c) "under the hood" code blocks hidden from the user. The two array architectures to which the program will be readily applicable when the effort completes are the Compact Telescoping Array (CTA) and the UltraFlex design. Other options can be included later, with additional program modules.
The product will be user friendly, well documented, and ergonomically designed with adaptive graphics and other features visually aiding the user. Its computational engine will employ classic as well as innovative symbolic, numeric, and hybrid techniques. It will assess key performance metrics (to evaluate stiffness, strength, and packaging performance). It will allow and guide design with a hierarchical (component to system) approach for space, and for gravity with upright array orientation. Data to aid modeling for advanced numerical analysis (FEA) will also be output.
Preliminary low-cost solar array design with advanced functionality and the comparative evaluation of different array designs and architectures for any of a variety of missions, including:
- near-term and other Lunar missions
- missions on/to Mars and other celestial bodies
- deep space missions and transport spacecraft
The product will directly permit
- applications like those by NASA
The technology developed will permit
- further software for rapid system design and evaluation
- a spreadsheet toolkit