NASA SBIR 00-1 SOLICITATION

FORM 9B - PROJECT SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER 00-1 14.05-9179 (Chron: 000822 )
PROJECT TITLE
Controlled Rigidization Technology for Inflatable Spacecraft



TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Large space-deployed structures such as synthetic aperture radars, radiometers, and solar arrays are receiving a great deal of interest by NASA in the Earth Sciences program. These large structures by necessity must be ultra-lightweight and low stored volume. Inflatable or self-deployable approaches that become rigid after they reach the correct shape appear to be a promising approach for fabricating structural members for these applications, such as booms, struts, and trusses. There remains a need for a controlled, clean rigidization technology to harden these inflatable spacecraft once they have achieved the required shape. The Phase I program will address structural and manufacturing requirements for ultralight composite tubes and explore the chemistry of an ultraviolet (UV) light-curing matrix system for rigidizing inflatable space structures. Composite architecture will be selected based on the analytical results. A likely structure will be composed of fine denier yarns woven into an open weave architecture with a [0/45] orientation. Matrix chemistry will be formulated to be compatible with long deploy-ment times and cure in the space environment using photocurable cationic epoxies. Previous work on this rigidization on command (ROC) technology has shown that this approach has considerable potential for controlled rigi-dization of inflatable structures. Sample composite tubes will be deployed and rigidized to demonstrate the concept at the end of the Phase I program.



POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The proposed work will result in a new materials technology for rigidizable ultralight inflatable spacecraft. Use of this new technology will provide a much needed advance in inflatables technology by providing a clean, controlled rigidization method with long storage life and low outgassing characteristics. It is expected that the ROC technology will be adopted by the inflatables community for use by NASA, the DoD, and their contractors for space missions. The unique features of the ROC technology bring a distinct competitive advantage to the marketplace for inflatable spacecraft compared to competing technologies. The eventual markets for inflatable spacecraft are extremely large for communications antennas and radars. In the commercial sector, over 200 satellites are expected to be launched in the next 10 years to meet consumer demand for cellular phones and other communication devices. A large number of military satellites are also expected to be launched in that timeframe.



NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Dr. Ronald E. Allred
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque , NM   87111 - 1522



NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Adherent Technologies, Inc.
9621 Camino del Sol NE
Albuquerque , NM   87111 - 1522