NASA 1998 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 98-1 13.10-5120

PROJECT TITLE: Preformed Thin-Film Mirrors and Inflatable Support Structures with Integrated Active Control

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Thin-film mirrors with inflatable support structures that incorporate piezoelectric materials for active control will be developed, evaluated, and integrated to provide increased precision in large deployable space systems. This structural shape control approach incorporates: (1) active control of a preformed parabolic mirror/reflector piezoelectric film with an electron gun; (2) active control of an inflated support structure with distributed electrodes; and (3) control algorithms that actuate support structure elements and reflector film segments in unison to compensate for the space thermal environment and dynamics of spacecraft and instrument pointing. Shape control of both pure inflatable and inflation-deployed foam-rigidized structure designs will be compared. Concept feasibility will be evaluated by design analysis and fabrication and testing of prototypes of critical components. Doubly curved support structure torus and strut elements and reflector film segments will be formed from widely available piezoelectric polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), and newly available space-tolerant piezoelectric polyimide flat sheet material, then tested and compared.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

User needs can be met for large-scale low-cost 50+ meter lightweight deployable precision spacecraft and instrument thin-film structures and active control reflectors. Applications include next generation telescopes, large antennas, microwave concentrators, and electrical power generation in space.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Rodney Bradford
United Applied Technologies, Inc.
11506 Gilleland Road
Huntsville , AL 35803

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR

United Applied Technologies, Inc.
11506 Gilleland Road
Huntsville , AL 35803