I have no prior knowledge on engineering, but has just started my Msc dissertation about using nonlinear programming technique to model a problem that is related to spacecraft elements design. I am uncertain that whether I have fully understood the problem. The problem is to decide the quantity, location and type of actuators to use so that the spacecraft element such as antenna is manufactured with maximal degree of flexibility. The problem mentioned that the technique that is used to achieve this objective is related to the elastic foil that spanned over several actuators. The elastic foil can be made into different shapes and the spanned foil can be used to cast spacecraft elements of different shapes. And the degree of flexibility may be related to the possibility of covering the widest range of possible foil shapes. As I have no prior knowledge, I face difficulty to understand how is the elastic foil and actuators related to each other. And also, about the degree of flexibility, how is it assessed? I desperately hope somebody can provide me any information about this or suggest any literature that would help. I have tried searching on the internet about this kind of topic but seems not able to find anything similar. I would appreciate any helps, thank you.