NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


PROPOSAL NUMBER 99-1 25.02-4242 (Chron: 990778)

PROJECT TITLE

Sparsely Braided Composites for Gossamer Deployable Structures


TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

Future space science missions will deploy structures many hundreds of meters long to provide compression columns for solar sails, heat shields and low-cost power production. These structures must be ultra-lightweight, packaged efficiently and be reliable over many years of mission duration. Existing technology is too massive, unreliable, or imperfection sensitive to currently meet these requirements. Foster-Miller will develop a new type of self-deploying, lightweight compression column by fabricating grid works of flexible, high modulus material. This open, isogrid-like structure is essentially a truss where the members are individual fiber bundles. The structure folds extremely compactly by using the flexibility of the composite material to flatten completely without yielding. This open column provides an ultra-light weight structure with the traditional truss advantages; high efficiency, insensitivity to imperfections, and ease of performance prediction. All fabrication is performed on the ground where manufacturing processes can be carefully controlled to ensure peak performance. And, the deployment and stowage of the structure can be repeated many times, allowing the spacecraft system to be thoroughly tested prior to flight. The development of this technology will provide future mission designers with a new alternative with which to produce Gossamer structures and spacecraft.


POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

Virtually all spacecraft deploy some form of structure, either for communication, sensing, power generation, or heat rejection. By developing a low-cost, extremely low mass, high packaging efficiency, deployable boom, the Foster-Miller team will allow commercial spacecraft developers to reduce their launch costs and increase their design margins. The proposed innovation will be a commercially viable technology that can be applied to almost every current and future government and civilian spacecraft program. In addition to the wide range of space applications, Foster-Miller is actively involved in developing lightweight, rapidly erected structures for terrestrial applications. These applications include emergency rescue structures, police barricades and temporary shelters. The proposed innovation will fill the niche of light load, extremely high packaging efficiency beam and column structures.


NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail

Address,

City/State/Zip)

Dr. Peter A. Warren

Foster-Miller, Inc.

350 Second Ave.

Waltham , MA 02451 - 1196


NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

Foster-Miller, Inc.

350 Second Ave.

Waltham , MA 02451 - 1196