Composite Technology Development, Inc. (CTD) seeks to advance the state of art with a novel deployable low-frequency antenna technology for SmallSats comprised of elastic memory composite antenna booms and deployer mechanisms. These booms incorporate a shape memory polymer matrix into a fiber-reinforced composite substrate with an outer metallization layer for RF performance. The elastic memory composite technology enables these antenna elements to be heated, rolled, and cooled to lock them into a stowed shape. They can be deployed smoothly with heat without inducing shock and without the need of for actuators or deployment motors. The long-length, low-frequency antenna elements can be packaged into exceedingly small stowed volumes, with simplified mechanisms, lower parts count, and lower mass than current state of the art boom and deployer systems.
The primary technical objectives of the proposed effort are as follows:
The proposed technology advances state of the art deployable low-frequency antenna technologies for CubeSats or SmallSats. Applications include radar sounding booms such as those used on prior misisons including MARSIS and future missions such as Europa Clipper. Currently, NASA requires increased capability in CubeSats to meet demands for lower-cost, multi-point observations throughout space leveraging lower cost SmallSats and CubeSats.
The proposed technology is applicable to a wide-range of SmallSat deployable systems for the growing non-NASA market. For example, SmallSats are being utilized by the National Science Foundation, Air Force, and commercial entities such as One-Web. Additionally, the National Reconnaissance Office has purchased many CubeSats under its Colony One and Colony Two programs.