Opterus proposes Tubular Truss Additive Manufacturing (TTAM), a robotically positioned printhead for in-space additive manufacturing of large, high-performance space trusses, under the subtopic “Development of Large-Scale Additive Manufacturing Processes for On-Orbit Manufacturing.” TTAM solves the challenge of achieving mass efficient large space platforms for space solar power, telescope apertures, and communications and sensing systems, scaling 100’s of meters. TTAM is suitable for lunar and Mars surface structures as well. TTAM is a printhead technology that uses high performance booms as the feedstock instead of solid or tape filament. The baseline TTAM fusing method is removable mechanical fasteners, which inherently require very little energy input. A specialized fastener has been designed that is easily installed or removed by the TTAM printhead; easy repurposing and reuse of struts is a key feature. The fastener also provides a mechanical interface and attachment point for the primary system components. Opterus’ TTAM approach surpasses competing OSAM approaches because it achieves a feedstock packing density of near 100%, uses the high-performance structural materials, enables reusability, and does not rely on high energy inputs.
Potential applications include space solar power, electric propulsion, large solar arrays, RF and higher frequency apertures, habitats, and lunar and Mars surface structures.
Potential non-NASA applications are similar as commercial interests in space solar power and commercialization of space resources continues. Large solar arrays to power space mobility and resource extraction enterprises are prime applications.