NASA SBIR 2018-I Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-1- H5.01-1302
 Mars Surface Solar Array Structures
 Webbed Solar Array
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
TentGuild Engineering Company
4740 Table Mesa Drive
Boulder , CO 80305-4505
(866) 666-7761

Principal Investigator (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Gyula Greschik
4740 Table Mesa Drive Boulder, CO 80305 - 4505
(866) 666-7761

Business Official (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Gyula Greschik
4740 Table Mesa Drive Boulder, CO 80305 - 4505
(866) 666-7761
Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 2
End: 3
Technical Abstract

Proposed is a new PV array architecture (featuring up to or beyond 1000-1500~m2 surface area) which can autonomously and repeatedly self-deploy into a disk-like configuration from a vertical Mars lander or other equipment, fully independent of terrain, while naturally achieving highly prioritized operational Mars mission objectives.  The innovation offers an attractive alternative to other designs for which integration with launch vehicle and lander/habitat structures is less than seamless, cleaning, deployment, and environmental effects can be an operational bottleneck, and structural support may depend on the terrain.  

The webbed array is a fundamentally new hierarchical tension-compression paradigm with a compression ring suspended from an elevated central platform with lanyards, and a network of catenaries and webbings connecting it to the hub.  The webbings support the actual array surface which constructed of flexible PV surface strips.  For stowage, the webbings, catenaries, and surface together wrap onto a rotating drum in the central hub, with the compression ring gradually collapsing and the suspension lanyards reeled in.  Stowage is compact and holds the sensitive PV surface in the tight embrace of mechanical parts from all directions.  

The surface structure is slack when deployed with cross-slopes and gaps for self-cleaning, which is further assisted by dynamical excitation by winds.  Elevation above the terrain is natural.  Integration with the piece of heavy base equipment anchors the array down to resist winds.  Sun tracking is possible.  Adaptive operation permits partial or full retraction when needed for protection or to control risks in special events (e.g., tornado / dust devil updraft).  

Offered is a systematic mapping of the several new fronts opened by this technology, to identify technological needs and paving the way for further development and commercialization. 


Potential NASA Applications

Autonomously deployable/retractable elevated surfaces in gravity
- Mars power infrastructure: self-cleaning PV arrays
- Shading protection
- Other planetary missions
- Lunar missions


Potential Non-NASA Applications

Autonomously deployable/retractable elevated surfaces in gravity
- Private sector planetary / Lunar missions
- Earth-based PV arrays in scenarios without human presence
- Rapidly deployable/retractable elevated shades and covers for protection or concealment  in architectural and military applications


Form Generated on 05/25/2018 11:29:43