Application and Simulation of Inflatable Structures for  Manned and Unmanned Space Vehicles









It is a well-known fact  that space structures must  fulfill both mass and volume requirements:  reduced mass would permits more propellant as well as reduced volume demands for a smaller launcher cargo-bay.  The development of  structures made by advanced lighter materials consists of  a key point for mass reduction.  Two main techniques are  instead available  to reduced  volume of space vehicles  payloads. These are based on deployable  and  inflatable structures IS technology, respectively.

An important advantage  of the IS  consists in  the possibility to exploit a habitable volume and surfaces greater than the one offered by traditional metallic space modules.  In particular, manned  IS  can be seen as a convenient way to accomplish long-term manned space missions, like planets explorations, to permit the availability of manned modules attached to the ISS (International Space Station),  to construct manned Free-Flyer on Low Earth Orbit and   permanent bases on other planets.  The use of IS appears  mandatory to provide the necessary volume (which has been estimated  to be around 500 m^2) for a Mars manned mission of 5/6 persons.

In this  presentation is reported the contribution of MUL2 group in the inflatable structure field.

MUL2 Investigators

Erasmo Carrera