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Publication numberUS3707720 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateDec 26, 1972
Filing dateOct 2, 1970
Priority dateOct 2, 1970
Publication numberUS 3707720 A, US 3707720A, US-A-3707720, US3707720 A, US3707720A
InventorsHacker Philip S, Staehlin John H
Original AssigneeWestinghouse Electric Corp
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Erectable space antenna
US 3707720 A
Abstract
An umbrella type antenna for delivery and use in space which includes an elongated tube and a cellular panel extending substantially radially of one end of the tube; the panel having support means for holding the panel in a collapsed or closed position during the delivery phase to a desired location and for maintaining the panel radially in an open, position during use, the support means also including a number of support ribs that are pivotally mounted at spaced intervals circumferentially of the tube and at one end thereof; the panel being composed of a plurality of expandable adjacent honeycomb-like cells which cells are disposed in closed condition when the panel is disposed in a closed position on the tube, the cells being disposed in open condition with the panel extending substantially radially outwardly from the tube in the open position, the honeycomb-like cells being formed of interconnected sheets of material which are preliminarily assembled with the cells in the opened positions and the sheets being in tension in the cell-closed condition when the panel is disposed in the closed position whereby the tension sustained in the interconnected sheets forming the closed cells if unrestrained, will cause the panel and ribs to expand from the closed position to the open position, means for releasably holding the ribs and panel in the closed position, each cell containing means for reflecting electromagnetic waves to a focus point on the tubular member, electromagnetic wave-receiving means on the tubular member at the focus point, the whole being coordinated so that the tension-sustained sheets forming the closed cells cause the panel and ribs to expand from the closed position to the open position upon release of the means for holding the ribs and panel in the closed position.
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United States Patent Staehlinetal;

s41 ERECTABLE SPACE ANTENNA [72] j lnventorsz'lohn 'llast'achlln, Baltimore; Philip S. Hacker, Silver Spring, both of Westinghouse Electric Corporation, f Pittsburgh, Pa.

' Filed: Oct. 2', 1970 ApplQNoJ 77,552

[73] Assignee:

52 343/897, 343/915 1m.v c1. ..H01g 15/20 Field of Search ..343/70s, DIG. '2; 753', 754,

[56] References Cited" I UNITED STATES PATENTS 12/1950 Golian eta. 343/91s 11/1966 :Kelly .343/915 Primary Examiner-Eli Lieberman Attorney-F. Shapoe and Lee P. Johns [57] ABSTRACT An umbrella type antenna for delivery and use in s 1 3,707,720 1451 Dec. 26, 1972 panel in a collapsed or closed position during the delivery phase to a desired location and for maintaining the panel radially in an open, position during use, the support means also including a number of support ribs that are pivotally mounted at spaced intervals circumferentially of the tube and at one end thereof; the panel being composed of a plurality of expandable ad- 7 jacent honeycomb-like cells which cells are disposed in closed condition when the panel is disposed in a closed position on the tube, the cells being disposed in open condition with the panel extending substantially radially outwardly from the tube in the open position, the honeycomb-like .cells being formed of interconnected sheets of material which are preliminarily assembled with the cells in the opened positions and the sheets-being in tension in the cell-closed condition when the panel is disposed in the closed position whereby the tensionsustained in the interconnected sheets forming the closed cells it unrestrained, will space which includes'an elongated tube and a cellular panel extending substantially radially of one end of the tube; the panel having support means for holding the cause the panel and ribs to expand from the closed position to the open position, means for releasably holding the ribs and panel in the closed position, each 8 Claims, 8 Drawing Figures 1-. ERECTABLE SPACE ANTENNA BACKGROUND OFTHE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This. invention relatesto. a spacejantenna that is deliverable to a desired location in spaceand that; is I tially opened position;

2 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THIE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the antenna in the closed position; I

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the antenna in a par- FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the antenna in a nearly completed opened position; FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the antenna in the completely opened position;

FIG. 5 a vertical sectional view through the antenna in the closedposition;

FIG. 6 is a sectional view through the antenna in the completely open position; 5

FIG. 7 is an enlarged vertical sectional view through the antenna; and

with such a largediameter would be extremely useful in picking. up'electroma'gnetic signals from a planetor from'other distant places. However, anantenna having a reflector that large'would :be" extremely difficult to send by currently". known vehicles, i.e., missiles launchedfrom earth.

Various types of antenna have been proposed for v such use and have beenne'gated'for'numerous reasons. Suffice it to say a need; has arisen for a space antenna which is deliverable'in. space to to thedesired location in a collapsed position and which is selfe rectable to an expanded position when it arrives atthe desired location. Such an antenna satisfies the basic pre-requisite of relatively lightweight and'st'ability.

7 SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with thisinvention it has been found that the foregoing difficulties may be overcome by providing an umbrella type antenna which is selfopenable from a collapsed to an expanded position which antenna includes an elongated tube and a cellular panel, the panel being mounted on support ribs which are pivotally attached at spaced intervals around one end of the tube, the ribs being disposed in'position substantially parallel to the tube during the delivery phase of the antenna with the panel disposed in a collapsed tubular position around the tube, the ribs extending radially outwardly from the tube in the expanded position with the panel disposed substantially radially outwardly from the tube, and the panel'being composed of interconnected sheets of material forming a plurality of adjacent honeycomb-likecells, the cells being disposed in closed conditions with the, panel forming a tubular structure around the tube when the ribs are in the collapsed position, the cells being disposed in open conditions with the panel extending substantially radially outwardly from the tube when the ribs are in the expanded positions, means for releasably holding the ribs and panel in the collapsed positions, means for ree'nforcing the antenna in the expanded position, the interconnected sheetsof material forming the honeycomb-cells being preliminarily assembled with the cells in the open positions in the sheets being sustained in tension with. the cells closed when the panel is a tubular structure in the collapsed position, means in the cells for reflecting electromagnetic waves to a focus point on the tube, and electromagnetic wavereceiving means on the tube at the focused point.

FIG. 8 .is a horizontal sectional view taken on the line VIII-VIII of FIG. 7. i I v DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT An erectable space antenna of the present invention is generally indicated at 10 in FIGS. 1 to 4. As shown .more particularly in the completely open position of FIG. 4, the antenna 10 includes a tubular member 12, a

plurality of radially extending armsor ribs 14, a flexibly expandable cellular panel or grating 16, and means 18 (FIG. 1) such as a band for holding the antenna in the closed position.

In addition the antenna includes means for reinforcing the antenna in the fully expanded position and means for receiving electromagnetic wave signals.

The tubular member 12 is shown more particularly in FIG. 5. It is the main support member of the antenna and one end of the member 12 is closed by an end plate or disk 20 having a diameter greater than that of the member and providing a peripheral edge portion 22 around the member 12. A plurality of spaced openings 24, equal to the number of ribs 14 are provided in the tubular member 12 in the end portion near the disk 20.

The openings 24 receive dielectric guide wires or cords 26, one for each opening, which wires are part of the means for reinforcing the antenna as set forth hereinbelow. 7

The lower end of the tubular member 12 is open. In the embodiment of the antenna shown an extension 28 is telescopically disposed within the lower end portion of the tubular member 12 when the antenna is in the closed position as shown in FIG. 5. The extension 28 is slidable longitudinally and outwardly of the open end of the member 12 to a position substantially shown in FIG. 6 in the open position in a manner to be described hereinbelow. The lower ends of the guide wires 26 are secured at 30 to spaced locations about the periphery of the lower end of the extension 28.

The arms 14 are disposed at radially spaced intervals about the tubular member 12 and in the closed condition of the antenna as shown in FIG. 5 the arms are disposed in positions substantially parallel to the axis of the tubular member 12. The lower end of each arm 14 is pivotally mounted at 32 to the outer end of an arm portion 34 which portion extends substantially radially outwardly from the member 12. Each armportion 34 is secured in any suitable manner such as a weld 36 t0 the member 12 at a location substantially at or near the lower end of the member. All of the arm portions 34 are aligned in the same radial zone.

The panel 16 is disposed between the spaced arms 14 and is supported thereby in the closed position of FIG. 5 as well as the opened or expanded position of FIG. 6. In FIG. 5, the panel 16 is disposed in a circular cylindrical configuration the axis of which is substantially that of the axis of the tubular member 12. The panel is coextensive with the arms 14 as well as the arm portions 34. In FIG. 6, where the antenna is in the opened position the panel is disposed radially outwardly of the tubular member 12 and coextensive with the arms 14.

The flexibly expandable cellular panel 16 is of a grid or grating configuration composed of intersecting sheets of material forming a plurality of adjacent honeycomb-like cells 38 (FIG. 8) preferably of hexagonal cross section. The material of which the sheets forming the walls of the cells 38 are composed is preferably a metal film such, for example, as aluminum, beryllium, or copper or alloys thereof such as 1 percent beryllium copper alloy. At the inner sections of the sheets forming the walls of the cell the sheets are welded together (along the comers of the cell walls) with the panel in the open position. The panel 16 is then placed on and attached to the several arms 14 in any suitable manner such as by welding. The arms 14 of the antenna are then moved from the open positions of FIG. 6 to the closed position of FIG. 5, whereby the open cells 38 are collapsed to closed conditions with the sheets forming the walls in surface to surface contact. In the closed position of the panel as shown in- FIG. 5 the panel is compressed against the restraining tension of the band 18. The panel is readily collapsed because the thin sheets are welded together to form the honeycomb cells 38 in the open condition. Compression of the cells to the closed position creates a tension in each cell which will cause the antenna to open from the closed position of FIG. 5 to the open position of FIG. 6 upon release of the restraining means or band 18.

The band 18 extends circumferentially around the collapsed antenna as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5. Thus, the band 18 circumscribe the outer surfaces of the collapsed antenna including the several guide wires 26. The band 18 includes a release means 40, such as an explosive charge which is operative or triggered by an appropriate radio signal to a suitable electronic receiver and electric spark or firing means (not shown). Release of the band 18 causes the closed antenna to open because of the built in inertia or memory of the collapsed cells in the panel 16.

As shown in FIG. 1 the antenna in the collapsed position includes an outer housing of longitudinally extending metal housing sections 42. As shown more particularly in FIG. 2 housing sections 42 are disposed on each side of each arm 14 so that as the antenna opens the sections 42 on adjacent arms 14 separate, thereby exposing the expanding portions of the honeycomb panel 16.

As shown in FIG. 5 the guide wires 26 extend from the interior of the tubular member 12 over and around the upper ends of the arm 14, downwardly along the arms to the lower ends thereof and then to the secured at the spaced locations 30 at the lower end of the extension 28. The guide wires 26 as well as the extension 28 serve to guide and reinforce the arms 14 as they expand to the fully deployed or open position of FIGS. 4 and 6. For that purpose the ends of the guide wires 26 are payed out of the member 12 through the apertures 24 where the inner ends of the guide wires are loosely contained in a suitable manner such as a container for preventing the wire ends from extending to positions too remote from the openings 24. At the same time the extension 28 is released and it continues to move out of the member 12 until the panel 16 is in the fully opened position in which position a portion of the extension 28 is retained within the open end of the member 12 and the guide wires, having enlarged inner end portions are retained tautly in place as shown in FIG. 6.

The reinforcing means of the antenna also includes a brace for each arm 14 including a link 44 and a collar 46. Each link 44 is pivotally mounted at 48 to a corresponding arm 16. The opposite end of each link is pivotally'mounted at 50 to the collar 46. Accordingly, as the antenna opens the collar 46 slides downwardly along the member 12, offering a minimum resistance to the inertial forces causing the panel 16 to open to the fully open position.

The reinforcing means of the antenna may also include a plurality of cords or wires 51 that extend radially from the lower end of the member 12 (FIG. 4) to a chordal cord or wire 53 extending between the outer ends of the ribs 14.

In its fully open position the panel 16 provides a continuous reflecting surface of the honeycomb cells 38 which are disposed in a substantially flat zone perpendicular to the axis of the member 12. The cells 38 are used as waveguides and are terminated at the proper depth by means for reflecting electromagnetic waves such as a pair of radiation reflecting wires or strips 52 and 54 of metal which are preferably crossed to reflect incoming microwaves of an electromagnetic field to a focus point, namely the disk 20 at the upper end of the member 12. The reflected waves are in turn sent to a receiver 56 disposed within the member 12 or within the extension 28 as shown in FIG. 7. More particularly, the vertical position of the crossed wires 52 and 54 within each cell 38 is dependent upon the radial distance of the cell from the axis of the tubular member In order to reflect an outer portion 58 of an electromagnetic wave to the disk 20 the crossed wires or strips 52 and 54 in the outermost cells 38 are disposed in a higher position than are corresponding crossed wires 52 and 54 in another cell 380 which is radially closer to the axis of the member 12. Accordingly, another portion 58a of the same electromagnetic wave extends further into the cell 38a before it is reflected by corresponding crossed wires 52 and 54a to the disk 20. correspondingly, for cells 38 intennediate of the cells 38 and 38a the crossed wires 52 and 54 are disposed at correspondingly intermediate positions for the outermost cells 38 and the innermost cells 38a. In short, the wires 52 and 54 are progressively spaced higher with the radial distance from the center until a one wavelength path adjustment has been effected. At that point the wire positions return to the original location and again are spaced higher with radial position for each wavelength path or band. When the cells 38 are in the closed position the crossed wires 52 and 54, being substantially ribbon-like members, collapse and fold in conformity with and between the walls of the collapsed cell. Thus, theelectrical depth of the cells 38 is electronically controlled in depthwise fashion. Such control might be desirable if'any'extensive damage or failure of the erecting structure is deemed likely. This circumstance can be met by installing a set of diodes in-place honeycomb cells being preliminarily assembled with the cells in the open position and the sheets being sustained in tension with the cells closed when the panel is in the collapsed position, means in the cells for reflecting electromagnetic waves to a focus point on the tubular member, electromagnetic wave-receiving means on the tubular member at the focus point, the tension sustained sheets forming the collapsed cells cause the panel and arms to expand from the collapsed position to the expanded position upon release of the means for releasably holding the arms and panel in the colla sed osition.

2. ihe antenna of claim 1 wherein the panel comprises top and bottom sides'that are substantiallyperpendicular tothe axis of the tubular member when in the expanded position, and the interconnected sheets I forming thecells are disposed. in planes that are sub- In other words, an antenna designed with sucha reflec I tor panel has aweightgthat"issufficiently below the maximum pay load of some of the rockets that are presently available for delivery of the antenna at the antenna at the desired-location.

Accordingly, the self-erecting antenna for space applications isprovided-which may incorporate a launch vehicle structure. asa detachable part of the antenna and in the expanded or fully deployed position aplanar reflector panel is formed fr om sections of honeycomb cells as the radiating surface.

It is understood that the above specification. and drawings are merely exemplary and not in limitation of the invention. 1

What is claimed is:

1. An erectable space antenna comprising a tubular member, a plurality of radially extendable arms pivotally mounted on the tubular member at spaced intervals for movement from a collapsed position to an expanded position, the arms being substantially parallel to the tubular member when in the collapsed position and extending radially outwardly from the member when in the expanded position, an expandable cellular panel extending between and supported by the arms, the panel being composed of interconnected sheets of material forming a plurality of adjacent honeycomblike cells, the cells being disposed in closed condition and the contacting cell stantially perpendicular to'the top and bottom sides.

3. The antenna of claim '1 wherein the interconnectecl sheets forming the cells are composed of metal sides of adjacent sheets are welded'together.

" 4. The antenna of claim 1 wherein the electromagnetic wave-reflecting means in the cells are metallic strips or wire extending across the open cells. t

5.'The antenna of claim 4 wherein the metallic strips or wires in the cells are progressively grouped in wavelength bands wherein the strips radially nearer the tubular member are spaced longitudinally farther away from the focus point than are the strips in the cells radially father away from the tubular member.

6. The antenna of claim 1 wherein the radially extending arms are pivotally mounted on the tubular member at a location that is longitudinally spaced from with the panel forming a tubular structure around the guy wire extending from the extremity of the tubular member extension to the extremity of each arm.

8. The antenna of claim 6 wherein the reinforcing means include a tubular member extension that is telescopically disposed in the member and is movable from a collapsed position within the member to an extended position of the member when the panel is expanded, and include a guy wire extending from the tubular member to the extremity of each arm in the expanded position and to the extremity of the extension.

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US2534710 *May 8, 1946Dec 19, 1950Golian Serge EBuoy supported collapsible radar reflector
US3286270 *Jul 1, 1964Nov 15, 1966Gen ElectricCollapsible parasol-like reflector utilizing flexible honeycomb shell
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3961153 *May 24, 1974Jun 1, 1976Trw Inc.Machine for fabricating a wire network
US3982248 *Jul 1, 1974Sep 21, 1976Trw Inc.Compliant mesh structure for collapsible reflector
US4030103 *Dec 10, 1975Jun 14, 1977Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc.Deployable offset paraboloid antenna
US4115784 *Feb 4, 1977Sep 19, 1978The United States Of America As Represented By The Secretary Of The Air ForceDeployable ground plane antenna
US4281900 *Oct 31, 1979Aug 4, 1981Ford Aerospace & Communications Corp.Frontal reflector bracing
US4558551 *Oct 25, 1982Dec 17, 1985Creusot-LoireSupport structure for solar collector
US4862190 *May 15, 1987Aug 29, 1989Trw Inc.Deployable offset dish structure
US5864324 *May 15, 1996Jan 26, 1999Trw Inc.Telescoping deployable antenna reflector and method of deployment
US5996940 *Jul 7, 1997Dec 7, 1999Hughes Electronics CorporationApparatus and method for combined redundant deployment and launch locking of deployable satellite appendages
US5999143 *Apr 1, 1996Dec 7, 1999Glynn; James J.Antenna system parabolic reflector, flat plate shroud and radome
US6340956 *Nov 13, 2000Jan 22, 2002Leland H. BowenCollapsible impulse radiating antenna
US7595769Feb 28, 2006Sep 29, 2009The Boeing CompanyArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
US7748376 *May 1, 2008Jul 6, 2010Bender William HSolar collector stabilized by cables and a compression element
US7839353Aug 20, 2009Nov 23, 2010The Boeing CompanyArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
US8408198Jul 2, 2010Apr 2, 2013William H. BenderSolar collector stabilized by cables and a compression element
US8720431 *Jun 5, 2008May 13, 2014Ideematec Deutschland GmbhMounting frame for supporting sheet-type solar panels
US9329383Mar 11, 2013May 3, 2016William H. BenderSolar collector stabilized by cables and a compression element
US20070200789 *Feb 28, 2006Aug 30, 2007The Boeing CompanyArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
US20090107484 *May 1, 2008Apr 30, 2009Bender William HSolar collector stabilized by cables and a compression element
US20090320826 *Jun 5, 2008Dec 31, 2009Ideematec Deutschland GmHMounting frame for supporting sheet-type solar panels
US20100018026 *Aug 20, 2009Jan 28, 2010The Boeing CompanyArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
US20160315372 *Jun 19, 2014Oct 27, 2016U.S. Army Research Laboratory Attn: Rdrl-Loc-IPortable Antenna
WO2007100865A2 *Feb 28, 2007Sep 7, 2007The Boeing CompanyArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
WO2007100865A3 *Feb 28, 2007Feb 14, 2008Boeing CoArbitrarily shaped deployable mesh reflectors
WO2010112600A1 *Apr 2, 2010Oct 7, 2010Astrium SasRadio antenna comprising improved rigidifying means
WO2012051701A1 *Oct 13, 2011Apr 26, 2012Patric MurphyCollapsible helical antenna
Classifications
U.S. Classification343/755, 343/897, 343/915, 343/840
International ClassificationH01Q15/14, H01Q15/16
Cooperative ClassificationH01Q15/161
European ClassificationH01Q15/16B