# DYNAMICS OF FLEXIBLE SPACE STRUCTURES

This topic is motivated by the desire to understand the sometimes fascinating dynamics of various flexible sructures in space; the work involved some combination of mechanics, dynamical systems and modeling.

One of the results of [19] is an interesting symmetry--seeking effect: a certain freely tumbling ``satellite" with a variable tensor of inertia approaches asymptotically a rigid shape (due to internal dissipation) whose tensor of inertia is an ellipsoid of rotation; of all possible shapes the system could take it chooses the one with a rotationally symmetric inertia tensor.

In the paper [27] with Stephane Laederich we studied the dynamics of simple model problems: free planar chains; using calculus of variations we showed that a free two--ended chain with $N$ joints admits periodic motions in which each of the $N$ angles between the neighboring links increases by its own arbitrarily prescribed integer multiple of $2\pi$.