NASA SBIR 02-1 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER:02- E1.04-8946 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 023053 )
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Passive Microwave
PROPOSAL TITLE: Synthetic Thinned Aperture Radiometer Boom Using Resilient Structures Technology

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Foster-Miller Inc
350 Second Ave
Waltham , MA   02154 - 1196
(781 ) 684 - 4368

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Peter Warren
350 Second Ave
Waltham , MA   02154 - 1196
(781 ) 684 - 4242

The deployment of booms that support arrays of rigid panels has long been a classic problem in aerospace structural design. NASA?s recent investigations into Synthetic Thinned Aperture Radiometers have motivated a more in-depth look into the deployment of long, precise arrays of antenna panels for a wide variety of earth science missions. Existing panel boom technology is too massive, complex, and unstable for these challenging missions.

Foster-Miller, Starsys, and the University of Colorado are teaming together to develop a revolutionary new deployable boom structure specifically for supporting long arrays of precision antenna panels. This boom system is based on an emerging new class of strain energy deployable tubular truss structures that has been shown to be extremely lightweight, stiff, strong and dimensionally stable down to the nanometer level. The boom will be integrally attached to the panels, allowing for controlled, repeatable deployment that can be proven on the ground and then reliably deployed on orbit.

The Phase I program will demonstrate the feasibility and the practicality of the approach through analysis and prototype testing. Future research will fully develop the repeatedly elastic deployable approach into a complete flight system. (P-020602)

Virtually all spacecraft deploy some form of structure, either for communication, sensing, power generation, or heat rejection. By developing a low cost, low mass, high packaging efficiency, deployable structure, the FMI 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 and bridges, crowd control barriers and temporary shelters.

NASA is investigating the use of Synthetic Thinned Aperture Radiometers to provide accurate measurements of the soil moisture, precipitation levels, ocean salinity, and many other important water-based measurements in various locations throughout the Earth?s ecosystem with a large, but lightweight non-rotating antenna. The proposed boom development will enable these missions at a lower risk, cost, launch mass and launch volume than existing mechanical or inflatable systems.

Other NASA Missions use rigid panels to provide high efficiency solar power generation, heat rejection and active patch antenna and radar systems. The proposed development would provide these NASA spacecraft with a low-cost, reliable, lightweight structure to provide these systems with rigid and dimensionally stable support.

Form Printed on 09-05-02 10:10