Lightweight Strain-Energy Deployed Spacecraft Booms

PI: Mark Pankow, North Carolina State University

The objective of this flight demonstration is to test and evaluate the deployment mechanism of a deployable spacecraft boom concept in a relevant zero gravity environment. Deployable structures are an important part of most spacecraft to provide instrument isolation, spatial diversity, or increase surface area. Existing deployable structures often have complicated deployment mechanisms with excess mass and a greater potential for failure. The concept under evaluation will reduce both complexity and mass while increasing reliability.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA12 Materials, Structures, Mechanical Systems and Manufacturing
Problem Statement

This work will validate a new deployment mechanism in a space relevant environment. This work aligns with NASA's technology road map for applications in both solar sails/drag sails and falls under the concept of structures/light weight composites. It lines up with one of NASA's game changing technologies of composite deployable booms.

Technology Maturation

The team will perform zero gravity testing to understand the physics of the new mechanism during deployment. Boom deployment will occur during zero gravity profiles on board a Boeing 727 test vehicle. During deployment, detailed high speed video will be captured and analyzed. This information will result in a detailed understanding of the boom's motion during deployment along with electrical functionality.

Future Customers

This technology has multiple infusion potentials in both short term (CubeSats) along with longer term missions such as NEA Scout.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    REDDI-F1-17B (Apr 2018)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 2 Parabolic

Development Team

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