Modern Earth-based radio antennas of very-long-baseline interferometry system are furnished with robust control systems for their pointing control. Their pointing accuracy is critical to the quality of the radio wave-front captured. External disturbances, particularly those of wind gusts, produce a non-negligible dynamic aeroelastic response that degrades its pointing accuracy, and yet are not mitigated by the antenna’s control system. In this paper, a high fidelity and efficient dynamic aeroelastic model of an earth-based antenna is developed which is used to study the effects of wind gusts on the antenna’s pointing accuracy. Model order reduction of the antenna structural model is carried out using Craig–Bampton method taking into consideration the dominant modal characteristics of the antenna. The aerodynamic forces are approximated using the 2D Doublet-Lattice Method. The Davenport Spectrum is used to model aerodynamic turbulences near the earth surface. The developed dynamic aeroelastic model is employed to investigate the effects of discrete and random gusts on the pointing accuracy of the antenna. It is found that the deviation in the pointing angle is more prominent in the z (azimuth) direction and it displays a quadratic dependency with respect to the mean wind speed. This behavior is attributed to the inertial component of the aeroelastic response solution represented by the gravitational field acting on the center of gravity of the main reflector and the counterweights. The developed efficient aeroelastic model can be integrated into the antenna control system for its response prediction and mitigation.

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International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Nieto, M.G. (Michelle Guzman), Thomas, P.V. (Paul V.), El Sayed, M, Saad, M. (Mohamed), Brown, G.L. (Gary L.), & Hilliard, L.M. (Lawrence M.). (2019). Development of Efficient Dynamic Aeroelasticity Model for High Fidelity Pointing Accuracy Assessment of VLBI Earth-Based Radio Antennas. International Journal of Aeronautical and Space Sciences. doi:10.1007/s42405-019-00238-6