ESA title
Enabling & Support

Mechanical support ring structure

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ESA / Enabling & Support / Space Engineering & Technology
596 - Abstract:
ESA has developed a novel mechanical support ring structure. Originally developed for supporting a deployable space reflector antenna, this technology has applications in support structures and collapsible constructions. The mechanical support ring structure is deployed from a folded, cylindrically stored state into a fully extended state. It can also be deployed in a cylindrical or conical shape. License agreements are sought.


The structure is aimed at being designed and constructed for large, deployable apertures that vary in size from 4 to 50 metres, whilst at the same time being able to be stored in compact and low mass containers. The design will provide high deployment process reliability, to a high level of accuracy. It is also intended to provide high stiffness and stability of the deployed support structure. In order to provide support of different instruments, the design can be deployed in either a cylindrically shaped structure, or a conically deployed one.

This structure is deployed by using an actuator configured to pull a cable across the upper and lower pantograph rods, which extends the structure outwards.

The design could be useful in quick assembly or pop-up structures, such as stands or tents.

Innovations and advantages:

  • The ring can be stored in a small, low mass container and deployed to sizes up to 50m, or greater
  • High deployment process reliability and accuracy, more-so than conical equivalents
  • High stiffness and stability support structure
  • Less complex than conical mechanical support systems as found in prior art

Commercialisation aspects:

Applications and Markets
The technology may be interested for applications such as pop up/quick assembly structures, support structures (e.g. for arrays), field hospital/disaster area structures or deployable solar arrays.

Intellectual property status
A PCT application has been filed. Looking for license agreements.

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