Combining our proprietary Pyramid Hinge, with other novel mechanical and geometric solutions, we propose a disruptively compact, robust structure for Lunar Solar Power Generation – The Sunflake Solar Array and Ultra Compact Tripod Tower (UCTT).
The solicitation request is for a structural and mechanical innovation, with a deliverable of an elevated Lunar Solar Array system, that is compact, lightweight, robust, retractable, and redeployable. This project is very well aligned with our area of expertise, as we have successfully developed and patented folding mechanisms and structures that meet all of the above requirements.
The Sunflake Solar Array and UCTT fold together, to stow in an estimated volume of 0.32 m³ which compares favorably to the stated requirement of 0.5m³.
The novel design combines the strength, compactness, and durability of the Pyramid Hinge, with super lightweight HC core panels, and other SOA materials, pivots, and simple motor and pulley operation. With this proposed technology, we expect to achieve an extremely compact foldable structure with a solar array that spans 35 square meters, raised up to 10 meters off the ground, and is extremely robust and reliable.
The Sunflake rotates and tilts for optimal sun tracking, while the UCTT provides a stable vertical structure. And apart from size/weight performance, they will bring to the field completely reliable deployment and retractability.
Both technologies are scalable, and modular.
In Phase 1 we propose to fully develop a working mechanical design for the structure, while applying the best available technologies. The design will be proven through a detailed 3D model, calculations, and physical models of specific details. This work will be the foundation for prototyping in Phase 2.
The Array could be used on any form of Human Lander, or future Lunar Outpost, Orbit Stations.
Sunflake is designed for multiple actuations, but can be modified for Satellite use with single actuation.
Any current or future missions that require lightweight portable high efficiency PV energy could be of interest.
The Array and Base can be used on other Planetary Missions. As the design is inherently stable, it can easily be scaled up for deployment when stronger gravity is present. It can be adjusted for use at different sun angles.
The UCTT could be used as:
- reliable lightweight Tactical Mast, for fast deployment.
- quick to deploy portable tower- from Radio communication, to supporting a portable wind turbine.
A modified array, could:
- become a portable shelter system with solar roof
- be used for pop up PV power generation
- be programmed to track sun angles
Potential for DoD, other government agencies or commercial use.