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MEMS Seminar: Sergio Pellegrino, “Beyond Deployables: New Ways of Building Giant Space Structures”

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science SPRING 2024 Seminar Series with Dr. Sergio Pellegrino, Professor Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering at California Institute of Technology. ABSTRACT: […]

Feb 14

February 14, 2024

12:00 pm - 12:00 pm

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  • Fitzpatrick Center Schiciano Auditorium Side A, room 1464

Thomas Lord Department of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science SPRING 2024 Seminar Series with Dr. Sergio Pellegrino, Professor Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering at California Institute of Technology.
ABSTRACT: Since the beginning of space exploration, large space structures have been built on the Earth, packaged for launch in a rocket, and unfolded in orbit. However, recent advances in autonomous robotic systems and advanced manufacturing have made it feasible to launch sets of modular parts to be put together by robots, or even to launch the raw materials or unfinished components and manufacture the needed parts in space. This talk will present two examples that illustrate the potential benefits of this new approach, as well as the practical challenges it poses. The first example is a segmented optical telescope with an aperture diameter of 100 m, whose modular structural architecture allows its assembly in space by general purpose, crawling robots. The second example is a scalable reflector antenna based on the “tension truss” architecture. In this case, the modules of the structure are assembled or manufactured within a self-contained facility that is launched in a rocket, without any additional robotic systems. Apertures of hundreds of meters can be launched within currently existing launchers. A proof-of-concept demonstration of the proposed concept will be presented.
BIO: SERGIO PELLEGRINO is the Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aerospace and Civil Engineering at Caltech, JPL Senior Research Scientist and Co-Director of the Caltech Space Solar Power Project. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of AIAA and a Chartered Structural Engineer. He has been President of the International Association for Shell and Spatial Structures (IASS) and the founding chair of the AIAA Spacecraft Structures Technical Committee. Pellegrino has received a Pioneers’ Award in 2002 from the Space Structures Research Center, University of Surrey, NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Team Awards in 2009 and 2016, and the IASS Torroja Medal in 2022.