[Univ of Cambridge] [Dept of Engineering]

Solid Surface Deployable Antenna

The Solid Surface Deployable Antenna (SSDA) was developed by Simon Guest and Sergio Pellegrino, based on our work on the wrapping fold pattern

The SSDA is a new concept for the folding of a parabolic antenna where a high operating frequency requires a solid reflective surface. The surface is split into wings; each wing is subdivided into panels, which are connected by revolute joints. The surface folds by wrapping the wings around a central hub.

The design of the SSDA has been highly optimised to minimize distortion during deployment. Below are shown four views of the deployment of the SSDA from a computer simulation generated during the design process.


A fully working development prototype, 1.5 m in diameter, has been built, and it's deployment has verified the results of the design process. It's behaviour closely follows the predictions produced in the design phase.

The fully folded model is shown below. Connecting bars which join the wings together can be clearly seen; at the end of each bar is a motor, and these motors drive the deployment of the antenna.

SSDA Model

Relevant Publications

Tibbalds, B., Guest, S.D. and Pellegrino, S. (2004), "Inextensional Packaging of Thin Shell Slit Reflectors", submitted to Technische Mechanik. (pdf preprint)

Guest, S.D., and Pellegrino, S. (1996). "A New Class of Solid Surface Deployable Antenna." Acta Astronautica, 38(2), 103-113.

Guest, S.D., and Pellegrino, S. (1996). "Design Optimization of a Solid Surface Deployable Reflector." IUTAM Symposium on Optimization of Mechanical Systems, D. Bestle and W. Schielen, eds., Kluwer, 105-112.

Guest, S.D., and Pellegrino, S. (1995). "Development of a New Solid Surface Deployable Antenna." ESA Workshop on Antenna Technologies, ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands, 21-23 November.

Last updated on the 12th of August, 2004

S.D. Guest - sdg@eng.cam.ac.uk