Model Validation and Performance Evaluation for the Multi-Tethered Aerostat Subsystem of the Large Adaptive Reflector
The Canadian design for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope includes a large multi-tethered aerostat to support the telescope’s receiver. To validate this design concept, two parallel tracks have been undertaken: a numerical simulation of the multi-tethered aerostat system has been assembled, and a one-third scale prototype of the system has been constructed. This paper describes the experimental facility, presents results from initial tests of the uncontrolled system and compares these results to the predictions of the computer model of the system. Generally, the results compare very favourably. Using the simulation, we arrive at two important design philosophies to be used in the design of the full-scale system: (a) perturbations on the confluence point should be minimized, and (b) the system stiffness should be maximized to ensure minimum response to disturbances.
KeywordsSKA radio telescope tethered aerostat feed positioning
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