Composite Origami for Spacecraft Solar Arrays and Deployable Structures

PI: Mark Pankow, North Carolina State University

Spacecraft and space-based outposts require a variety of deployable structures, such as solar arrays, deployable habitats, and other expanding apparatuses. Lightweight, strain-energy deployed composite origami has the potential to address this need in a compact form factor that enables a range of stowed and final configurations. The design utilizes both a stiff and a soft matrix to create an integrated hinge component. The soft matrix allows the hinge to store strain energy, enabling the structure to self-deploy.

This work is related to T0205.

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

Lightweight strain-energy deployed composite origami is a good match for solar arrays, expanding structures, and deployable habitats. The objective of this experiment is to understand the mechanics of deployment—namely, repeatability and degradation.

Technology Maturation

The composite origami will enable large-scale deployable solar arrays with exceptional packing efficiency. This technology is currently at TRL 4 based on laboratory testing at NCSU. Successful deployment during zero-gravity test flights will advance it to TRL 5.

Future Customers

Scalable solar power for any space-based mission
Large-scale power generation for Mars and deep-space missions
Deployment of habitat structures for human-tended exploration missions

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights19 (Oct 2019)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Parabolic

Development Team

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