Civil Engineering ETDs


Jeremy Banik

Publication Date



Structural metrics have been used for nearly a century to provide designers with simple, rational tools for comparing the mass performance of aircraft and spacecraft platforms. Large space structures designers and evaluators rely on metrics to compare boom, telescope, and long antenna architectures. In this work, scaling metrics are established for rectangular flexible blanket solar array structural architectures. The approach takes advantage of the fact that an ideal solar array structure is a system of coupled beam and tensioned blanket components rather than the typical simplifying approach of considering only one beam with a distributed mass as the blanket. A fundamental frequency relation is developed to represent a beam-cable system in a clamped-free boundary condition. A structural model of the array is developed on the basis of minimum mass and minimum beam cost using constraint analysis methods and weight equations. This structural model expression is solved numerically using root finding algorithms, is transformed into an approximate expression using regression techniques, and the terms are symbolically related into scaling parameters and scaling indices. These metrics enable straightforward comparison of a wide range of array sizes, geometric forms, column types, column quantities, blanket mass densities, acceleration loads, fundamental frequencies, and power production values. Finally, practical application and accuracy of these metrics is demonstrated by comparing to the latest heritage tensioned blanket systems on-orbit and those still in prototype form: Terra (EOS-AM), the Milstar constellation, the International Space Station, MegaROSA, and MegaFlex.


solar array, deployable structures, flexible blanket, structures, metrics

Document Type




Degree Name

Civil Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Maji, Arup

First Committee Member (Chair)

Tang-Tat Ng, Percy

Second Committee Member

Jenkins, Christopher

Third Committee Member

Arritt, Brandon