Pseudo-beam method for compressive buckling characteristics analysis of space inflatable load-carrying structures This paper extends {it A. Le van}’s work et al. [“Finite element formulation for inflatable beams”, Thin-Walled Struct. 45, No. 2, 221--236 (2007; url{doi:10.1016/j.tws.2007.01.015})] to the case of nonlinear problem and the complicated configuration. The wrinkling stress distribution and the pressure effects are also included in our analysis. Pseudo-beam method is presented based on the inflatable beam theory to model the inflatable structures as a set of inflatable beam elements with a pre-stressed state. In this method, the discretized nonlinear equations are given based upon the virtual work principle with a 3-node Timoshenko’s beam model. Finite element simulation is performed by using a 3-node BEAM189 element incorporating ANSYS nonlinear program. The pressure effect is equivalent included in our method by modifying beam element cross-section parameters related to pressure. A benchmark example, the bending case of an inflatable cantilever beam, is performed to verify the accuracy of our proposed method. The comparisons reveal that the numerical results obtained with our method are close to open published analytical and membrane finite element results. The method is then used to evaluate the whole buckling and the load-carrying characteristics of an inflatable support frame subjected to a compression force. The wrinkling stress and region characteristics are also shown in the end. This method gives better convergence characteristics, and requires much less computation time. It is very effective to deal with the whole load-carrying ability analytical problems for large scale inflatable structures with complex configuration.