DLR measures booms for solar sails with AICON’s coordinate measuring machine

A huge solar sail unfolds in space and drives a satellite that explores the solar system. This is called solar sailing. Researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) are working together with the European Space Agency ESA and the Technical University of Braunschweig and want to prove that solar sailing is operational. AICON’s 3D coordinate measuring machine MoveInspect HR helps them.

Aicon Moveinspect HR

Aicon MoveInspect HR

How tightly can the sails be tensioned without bending the booms? This question is to be answered with the help of the MoveInspect measurements. Since March 2014, the DLR has been using a MoveInspect HR.

The boom to be measured is clamped in a test rig that is equipped with traction motors. Two digital cameras focus on the boom mounted in a frame. The traction motors are activated and pull the lower end of the boom sideways. Depending on the size of the mast, the maximum displacement distance is between 0.3 m and 1.5 m. Strength, deformation and time are recorded simultaneously. The measured coordinates are automatically transferred to the evaluation program and the relationship between force and deformation is analyzed.

Martin Zander supervises the MoveInspect measurements at the DLR and is highly satisfied: “The work with MoveInspect HR saves us a lot of time and opens up new opportunities. We can now perform all measurements in just one single set-up. Initially we worked with a laser system, but this is no longer able to satisfy our complex measuring tasks. MoveInspect HR is perfectly suited for our current measurement project. The system is also flexible, so  in future we will also use it at our other locations.”

Source aicon3d.com