NASA SBIR 2018-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-2- H5.01-7032
 Mars Surface Solar Array Structures
 Articulating Solar Panel Energy System (ASPEN)
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Suite D
Longmont, CO 80503
(303) 200-0068

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dana Turse
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Suite D
Longmont, CO 80503 - 7555
(303) 908-7649

BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Stephanie Amend
2602 Clover Basin Drive, Suite D
Longmont, CO 80503 - 7555
(300) 200-0068

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 5
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

To meet NASA’s need for compact, low-cost and autonomous deployable solar array systems to support near-term Lunar and future Martian exploration objectives, Roccor proposes to continue developing the  Articulating Solar Panel Energy (ASPEN) system by replacing the z-folded membrane PV blanket baselined for use in the CTSA architecture with an array of discrete modular thin-substrate solar panels supported by cables to enable panel articulation in unison much like “Venetian blind” blades. Significant advantages of articulated PV panels include more efficient power generation, lower procurement costs, and reduced mass and stowed volume.

The ASPEN array technology is compatible with all central-column-tensioned-membrane solar array architectures including Lockheed’s Flexible Substrate Solar Array (FSSA), Roccor’s Flexible Substrate Resilient Array (FSRA), and NASA’s CTA/CTSA.  Key improvements and advantages of the proposed Phase II ASPEN technology include:

  • Discretization of the membrane blanket into an array of panels to simplify and reduce manufacturing costs, allow individual panel replacement, upgrades, or system expansion.
  • Decoupling load bearing tension elements from the solar cell substrate enables use of less massive tensioning cables and mechanisms, and ability to tailor tension to achieve desired deployed stiffness.
  • Panel louvering offers a second solar panel articulating axis, in addition to axial, which can potentially improve sun tracking for lunar, Martian, or zero-G satellite applications.
  • The ability to louver the panels perpendicular to the mast enables simplistic and autonomous retractability.

Roccor’s proposed Phase II program would deliver a sub-scale engineering demonstration unit of the ASPEN technology for application to both lunar and Martian surface operations.

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

The proposed ASPEN technology is highly modular and applicable to a wide range of use cases, including not only Lunar and Martian surface arrays, but also satellite arrays.  NASA recently unveiled a new campaign to return to the Moon, and eventually Mars.  All of these exploration missions will require higher performance power generation systems.  This Exploration Initiative presents a significant opportunity for Roccor to infuse the ASPEN solar array technology into a wide range of missions. 

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

ASPEN’s attributes will attract interest from the commercial satellite industry.  This industry is trending towards higher through-put platforms (i.e., more power-hungry buses and payloads) and all-electric propulsion (SEP) for lower-cost orbital transfer and station keeping.  Both trends bode well for adoption of next-generation solar arrays like the ASPEN array.

Duration: 24

Form Generated on 05/13/2019 13:32:03