US 3381923 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
May 7, 1958 T. G. BERRY 3,381,923
DEPLOYABLE STRUCTURE Filed Dec. 27, 1965 5 Sheets-Sheet l um nu INVENTOR. THOMAS G. BERRY ATTORNEYS (2? BY Mm' May 7, i968 T. G. BERRY 3,381,923
DEPLOYABLE STRUCTURE Filed Deo. 27, 1965 3 Sheets-Sheet NVENT S G. B Y
ATTORNEYS THo May 7, 1968 T. G. BERRY DEPLOYABLE STRUCTURE FiledDec.
3 Sheets-Sheet 5 INVENTOR. THOMAS G. BERRY ATTORNEYS United States Patent O 3,381,923 DEPLOYABLE STRUCTURE Thomas G. Berry, Silver Spring, Md., assigner to Fairchild Hiller Corporation, Hagerstown, Md., a corporation of Maryland Filed Dec. 27, 1965, Ser. No. 516,635 8 Claims. (Cl. 248-166) ABSTRACT F THE DISCLSURE A deployable structure having a plurality of central members formed with telescoping pieces which are connected together by scissors links. The structure is used to erect a number of elements, which can be antenna elements, one element being connected to one of the telescoping pieces of a central member. This structure also can be used to deploy a folded piece of material into a predetermined configuration.
This invention relates to deployable structures and more particularly to a deployable antenna structure.
Many applications exist where it is desirable to provide a structure of a predetermined configuration having a high ratio of volume (or area) occupation between its fully deployed and fully folded states. One such application is in the construction of buildings, scaliolds, etc. Another is for an antenna array for aircraft, or other type of vehicle, where the array structure desirably occupies a relatively small volume when not in use and is expandable to a larger volume or area with a desired spatial configuration for the antenna elements when the antenna is to be used.
The present invention relates to novel deployable structures of the foregoing type which are capable of deploy ment from a low volume configuration to one which occupies a relatively large surface area. In a preferred embodiment, where the structure is for deploying a number of antenna elements in a predetermined geometric array, each of the elements is housed within an individual holder. The holders are connected together in a cooperative manner, such as by a number of scissor links, and when the structure is in the folded condition the holders are located fairly close to each other. When the structure is deployed, the mechanism connecting the holders move them apart to a desired conguration. In the preferred embodiment of the invention disclosed, each antenna element and holder is in the form of a piston and cylinder with the piston-like antenna element adapted to telescope into its holder. In the folded condition of the structure, an antenna element is substantially retracted within its holder while in the dcployed condition of the structure the element is extended from the holder to an electrically operaivc position. At the same time, the antenna elements are arranged in a predetermined array when the holders are moved apart.
lf it is desired to use the structure as a construction member, then the antenna elements are omitted and the holders serve as connectors between the scissors links and as reinforcing members.
It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide structures deployable to predetermined configurations which have a relatively small volume in the fully folded state and occupy a relatively large volume in the fully deployed state.
Another object is to provide structures for deploying a number of antenna elements of an array in a predetermined configuration.
A further object is to provide a deployable antenna array structure in which the antenna elements are in a protected position during the time the structure is folded and which are extended outwardly to an operative position When the array structure is deployed.
Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent upon reference to the following spec1fication and annexed drawings in which FIG- URES 1 through 3 are perspective views of one form of the structure showing respectively the fully folded condition, the semi-deployed condition, and the fully deployed condition.
FIGURE 4 is a view, taken partly in section of one of the antenna element holders of FIGS. l-3;
FIGURE 5 is an enlarged View of a portion of a drive linkage; and
FIGURE 6 is a perspective view of a structure for deploying a completely reflective antenna.
Referring to FIGS. 1 through 3, the deployable structure 1 has a plurality of central members, or holders, 10 each of which is of similar construction. Each holder 10 includes a tube or cylinder 12 within which a rod, or tube, 14 telescopes and slides freely.
A respective bracket 16 and 18 is connected to the outer end of each cylinder 12 remote from its rod 14 and the outer end of a respective rod 14. This connection is made by welding, soldering, brazing, gluing, etc. To produce a square or rectangular deployed structure configuration, each of the brackets 16 and 18 has four outwardly projecting arms spaced approximately 90 apart. As shown most clearly in FIGS. 2 and 3, arms 20a and 2Gb extend in opposite directions from opposite sides of a bracket while arms 20c and 20d extend in opposite direction from opposite sides of a bracket transverse to those holding arms 20a and 2Gb.
The brackets 16 and 18 of a central member 10 are connected to the corresponding elements of at least one adjacent central member by a respective lazy tongs, or scissors7 linkage 2S formed by two arms connected vby a central pivot member 26. As should be clear, the central member 10 at each corner of the structure 1 is connected to two adjacent members 10 located 90 apart, while a member 1li on the 'perimeter of the structure is connected to two members 1Q on the perimeter and one inside of the perimeter. An internal member 10 is connected to four other members spaced 90 apart. As seen in FIGS. l-3, the arms 20 which do not have linkages 25 connected thereto are preferably left on the bracket for other purposes, for example, mounting a shroud or cover over the structure.
When a configuration different from a square or rectan gle is to be obtained, the arms 20 on the brackets 16 and 18 are spaced differently and a different number of linkages are connected to each bracket. For example, to achieve a generally rhombic pattern four arms 20 are used with each adjacent pair of arms alternately separated by an acute and an obtuse angle. Almost any desired con` figuration can be achieved such as triangular, rectangular, approximations of a circle, etc.
In the embodiment of the invention of FIGS. l-S being described, where the structure is used to erect an antenna array, each of the rods 14 is connected to and drives a respective antenna element located within the corresponding tube 12. In the fully collapsed state of the structnre 1 shown in FIG. 1, only the tips of the antenna elements 30 project above the cylinders 12. It should be understood that the lengths of the antenna elements 30 can be selected as desired, and they can be made of the same or different lengths, so that more or less of an element will extend beyond the end of a cylinder 12 when the antenna structure is fully collapsed.
In the fully deployed condition of the structure (FIG. 3) each of the antenna elements 3d reaches its maximum extension beyond the end of a respective cylinder 12 and each rod 14 is fully telescoped within its corresponding cylinder with its bracket 18 bottomed against the cylinder. Also, the elements 30 can be provided with spring loaded sub-elements which deploy as the outer tube 12 of each central member telescopes over its rod 14.
Where the structure 1 is to serve only as a construction member, then the elements 30 are omitted and the central members serve as connecting members for the linkages as well as stabilizing members for the structure.
FIGURE 4 shows the details of a respective antenna element 30 mounted within its holder 10. One end 32 of the element is mounted within a plug 33 of any suitable insulating material such as, for example, Teflon. The plug 33 is in turn fastened to the upper end of the telescopin g rod 14 by any suitable fastener or fastening material such as epoxy plastic glue. A lead wire 34 is connected to the end 32 of element 30 by solder 35 and the lead wire 34 passes through a number of insulator rings 36 fastened on the inside of the tube 14. Rings 36 can also be of the same material as plug 33. A connector 37, shown as a conventional coaxial cable connector, has its common element or terminal 38 electrically connected to the rod 14 and its center terminal 39 to wire 34.
If desired, the mating walls between a cylinder 12 and rod 14 can be coated with a lubricant or a substance, such as Teflon, to facilitate the sliding action when the structure is deployed and collapsed.
The structure of FIGS. l-3 can either be deployed controllably by a driving mechanism connected to the individual linkages 25 or else be deployed without the use of such a mechanism. An arrangement for accomplishing the latter is shown in FIGS. 1 and 5. Here a torsion spring 32 is looped around the pivot member 26 of each linkage 25. If the structure is relatively light, then the springs can be omitted from some of the linkages. One end of a spring 32 is connected to one of thearms of a linkage and the other end is connected to the other of the linkage arms.
The structure is maintained in the fully folded condition shown in FIG. 1, by bands 40, wrapped around the outer unconnected arms of the brackets 16 and 18 on the members 10 located on the perimeter of the structure. A complete shroud (not shown) placed over the entire structure, also can be used to form the minimum package configuration. When the band or shroud is cut or released, which may for example be accomplished by an electrically operated explosive bolt, the torsion springs 32 expand the scissors linkages and deploy the structure. The intermediate position of deployment for the array is shown in FIG. 2 and the fully deployed array is shown in FIG. 3. As should be evident from FIGS. 1-3, deployment of the structure further telescopes a rod 14 within its respective cylinder and extends the connected antenna element. It should be understood that any other suitable type of deployment mechanism may be used. For example, the cylinders 12 and/ or pistons 14 can be hydraulically or pneumatically operated and the springs 32 eliminated.
After deployment, the structure can be mounted by its brackets 18 onto a base. As another way of mounting one of the central members 10 can be connected to a pedestal or base and the structure deployed around it.
As should be clear from considering FIGS. 1-3, the structure is deployed from a maximum height minimum length and width configuration (FIG. 1) to a minimum height maximum length and width configuration. Stated another way, the structure produces a large planar area when fully deployed.
FIG. 6 shows a reflector erected with the present invention. Here, each extendable element 130, corresponding to the element of FIGS. 1-5, has its end connected to a corner of one or more pieces of reflective, foldable material 140. The pieces 140 are, for example, nylon coated with aluminum by a vacuum deposition process or lamination, metal foil laminated onto a thin plastic base material, etc. A fold line 141 runs diagonally from each corner of each piece 140 to its center while another pair of fold lines 144 runs across the piece transverse to its edges. Fold lines 141 and 144 fold in opposite directions with lines 141 preferably folding the piece inwardly and the lines 144 folding it outwardly.
In operation, as the structure is deployed, elements extend from tubes 12 and the pieces 140 are opened to the position shown. Their size is, of course, selected to correspond to the spacing between elements 130 with the structure 1 in a fully deployed condition. When the structure is collapsed, the elements 130 retract causing the pieces to fold and lie between the holders.
While a particular folding configuration and connection to the elements 130 at the corners of the pieces 140 is shown, it should be understood that any suitable folding arrangement can be used. Also the pieces can be connected directly to the central members 12 instead and the elements 130 be eliminated.
While preferred embodiments of the invention have been described above, it will be understood that these are illustrative only, and the invention is limited solely by the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A structure deployable from a folded to an expanded state for producing a predetermined configuration comprising:
a plurality of elements,
means for connecting an element to one of the telescoping pieces of one said central members for telescoping movement therewith so that the element is extended from the central member as the structure is deployed,
a plurality of central members, each said central member formed by a pair of telescoping pieces,
and extension means interconnecting the pieces of adjacent central members for determining the degree of telescoping of the pieces of said central member as said interconnecting means are extended to deploy the structure.
2. A structure as in claim 1, wherein said interconnecting means are scissors links which are movable between a fully extended position and a fully collapsed position.
3. A structure as in claim 2, wherein means are provided for driving the scissors links from a collapsed position to an extended position.
4. A structure as in claim 2, wherein the pieces of said central member comprise an outer cylinder and a piston member movable therein and one arm of each scissors link is connected to the cylinder of one central member and the piston of an adjacent central member.
5. A structure as in claim 4, wherein an element is connected to the piston piece of a respective central member and one end of the cylinder piece has an opening for the element to extend therethrough as the piston travels within its cylinder post.
6. A structure as in claim 1 for forming substantially closed surface portions on one side thereof as it is deployed, further comprising: foldable material, and means connecting said foldable material to the elements of adjacent central members so that the material is folded as the elements are retracted with collapsing of the structure and is unfolded as the elements are extended with deployment of the structure.
7. A structure deployable from a folded -to an expanded state for forming a surface portion on one side thereof in a predetermined configuration as it is deployed comprising: a plurality of central members, each of said central members formed by a pair of telescoping pieces, extension means interconnecting the pieces of adjacent central members for determining the degree of telescoping of the pieces of said central members as said interconnecting means are extended to deploy the structure with said central members in said predetermined configuration, a piece of foldable material, means connecting said folded material to one of the telescoping pieces of a plurality 5 of said adjacent central members so that said piece of material is folded as the structure is collapsed and unfolded as the structure is deployed to unfold said material in the configuration of the deployed structure.
8. A structure as in claim 7 wherein an extending 5 element is carried by one of the telescoping pieces of a central member and is extendable when the structure is deployed, and means for connecting said piece of material to said extending member.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS ROY D. FRAZIER, Primary Examiner. J. F. FOSS, Assistant Examiner.