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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Design of weight-optimized space frame for the Canadian large adaptive reflector Chang, Ya-Ying


The Square-Kilometer Array (SKA) is an international project for building the next radio telescope. With a collecting area of one square-kilometer, the SKA will be 100 times more sensitive than current radio telescopes. The concepts for the SKA elements include nested phased arrays, large spherical reflectors, and many small parabolic antennas. The Large Adaptive Reflector (LAR) is the Canadian concept of building the SKA. The LAR is a long focal-length parabolic reflector which uses an airborne platform to support the focal receiver. The feed is held in plane by a tension-structure consisting of three or more tethers tensioned by the lift of a large helium-filled aerostat. The reflector is made up of segmented panels whose height and angle to zenith of segmented panels can be adjusted to focus on any point within zenith and azimuth angle coverage. Unlike conventional radio telescope, LAR is based on reflective optics thus the usable frequency range is limited by the surface accuracy of the reflector. Main structural components of the LAR are foundations, actuators (primary and secondary), main support structures, and reflector panels. This report includes investigation on the feasibility of using LAR antennas as elements to form the SKA, and the conceptual design of a triangular space frame, which is used as the main support structure.

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