MDAO Webinar | Design Space Exploration of a High-Altitude Aerial Platform “Mothership” | TOYOTA

July 22, 2021
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm ET
Mr. Taewoo Nam
Principal Scientist
Toyota Research Institute of North America


A high-altitude aerial platform concept (called Mothership) was envisioned for wide range applications such as wind energy harvesting, atmospheric data acquisition, high speed communication relay, and payload transportation. A preliminary system level analysis was conducted to gain initial insight into concept feasibility, sensitivities with respect to design parameters, and impacts of advanced technologies.

An integrated design and analysis environment was created by harnessing fast analysis tools covering key disciplines such as wind data, aerodynamics, inflatable structural analysis, mass properties, kite stability, and tether catenary into Phoenix Integration ModelCenter®.  To expedite the design space exploration, a set of surrogate models was created from the integrated multi-disciplinary tool.  Utilizing the surrogate models, a Monte Carlo simulation was performed to generate 30,000 different designs. The feasibility of those designs was evaluated against a set of design requirements including the internal pressure of the inflatable structure, kite stability, and tether tension.  A baseline design, selected from a Pareto front, was further evaluated for impacts of design altitude and advanced technologies.

This preliminary analysis indicates that access to high altitude (10km) requires a significantly large and lightweight kite and tether construction.  In addition, advanced technologies are necessary for reliable operation at high altitudes. To cope with a wide seasonal variation of wind speed, advanced actuation system appears to be highly desired for lift augmentation, stability enhancement, load alleviation and flutter suppression.

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Duration: 55min

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File Size: 4 MB
Slides: 37

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