L.Garde, Inc. proposes to design and develop a modular range of freestanding Lightweight Illuminating Towers (LiT) in response to NASA's need for "lightweight reflectors to redirect sunlight onto solar arrays or into dark craters". The LiT will consist of two subassemblies, (1) reflector with attendant mast, tilt drive, azimuth drive, and leveler, and (2) mass and volume efficient truss structure with stabilizing legs. The two main LiT-specific challenges are tower height and robotic deployment of wide-base legs, using a lightweight and compact structure. In Phase I, L.Garde will prove the feasibility of the proposed LiT innovations using design, analysis, and test. In Phase II, L.Garde will aim to develop a system design that will allow for the ground testing and demonstration of a LiT reflector tower (including stabilizing legs, slew, leveling, etc.).
The range of LiT reflector towers directly fulfills needs of the NASA plans described in the solicitation topic. As well, the legs are useful as a standoff option for the solar arrays called for in this solicitation topic. As well, LiT technology could be adapted for future use on Mars to concentrate light on solar arrays, where retractability would be important to resist dust storms. The truss technology itself has numerous structural applications on its own, in-space or on the moon and Mars, and the reflector has solar sail applications.
Beyond NASA applications, other government missions the LiT technology could serve are: