Microwave and Synthetic Aperture Radar antenna systems have been developed as instrument systems using truss structures as their primary support and deployment mechanism for over a decade. NASA Langley Research Center has been investigating fabrication, modular assembly, and deployment methods of lightweight rigidizable/inflatable linear truss structures during that time for large spacecraft systems. The primary goal of the research at Langley Research Center is to advance these existing state-of-the-art joining and deployment concepts to achieve prototype system performance in a relevant space environment. During 2005, the development, fabrication, and testing of a 6.7 meter multi-bay, deployable linear truss was conducted at Langley Research Center to demonstrate functional and precision metrics of a rigidizable/inflatable truss structure.
The present paper is intended to summarize aspects of bonded joint technology developed for the 6.7 meter deployable linear truss structure while providing a brief overview of the entire truss fabrication, assembly, and deployment methodology. A description of the basic joint design, surface preparation investigations, and experimental joint testing of component joint test articles will be described. Specifically, the performance of two room temperature adhesives were investigated to obtain qualitative data related to tube folding testing and quantitative data related to tensile shear strength testing. It was determined from the testing that a polyurethane-based adhesive best met the rigidizable/inflatable truss project requirements.