NASA SBIR 01-1 Solicitation

FORM 9B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER: E2.01-9597 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 012402 )
PROPOSAL TITLE:
Lightweight Auto-Inflating Self-Rigidizing Booms

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
Lightweight Auto-Inflating Self-Rigidizing Booms (LAISRB) is a key technology to enable large space ?gossamer? structures such as radiometer or radar antennas or solar sails. In Pioneer Astronautics LAISRB concept, inflatable tubes containing a small amount of methanol and a UV-curing self-hardening resin are deployed in a canister attached to the gossamer structure. Upon reaching deployment orbit, the canister is opened. The methanol contained in the booms will then vaporize deploying the booms. Once the balloons are deployed, they will be exposed to the ultraviolet radiation environment of space, which will cause the booms to harden. Once hard, the booms will remain rigid even after the methanol fluid used to inflate them leaks out to the vacuum of space. The advantage of the LAISRB is that the inflation system requires no high pressure gas storage devices, pyro valves, or other heavy, expensive, and failure prone equipment, and the hardening of the boom is automatic once exposed to the ultraviolet environment of space. The system thus promises to be lightweight, cheap, and very reliable.

POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS
The market for lightweight auto-inflating self-rigidizing booms (LAISRBs) is potentially large. In addition to providing the necessary deployment system for large orbiting communication systems, radars, passive microwave antennas, and numerous other Earth and space observation systems, such boom systems could also be used to enable solar sail spacecraft. LAISRBs could also be used to deploy large photovoltaic power arrays for both robotic and manned spacecraft. In addition, they could be used to deploy solar concentrators to enable high-power solar thermal electricity generation on orbit. Solar thermal propulsion systems capable of generating specific impulses over 800s could also be deployed using LAISRBs, thereby enabling cheap reusable orbit transfer vehicles. The economic return from all such applications taken together runs into billions of dollars, and by enabling them LAISRBs could do much to help advance not only the space program, but life on Earth as well.

NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Robert Zubrin
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516

NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)
Pioneer Astronautics
11111 W. 8th Avenue, Unit A
Lakewood , CO   80215 - 5516


Form Printed on 06-19-01 15:44