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, stable, retractable, and redeployable. This project is very well aligned with our area of expertise. In Phase I Folditure validated the design, packing efficiency, scalability, and retractability of the mechanism.
The 39m² Sunflake Solar Array and UCTT fold together, to stow in an estimated volume of 0.29 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 lightweight HC core panels, and other SOA materials, pivots, and a novel drive mechanism. With this proposed technology, we achieve an extremely compact foldable structure with a solar array that delivers 10kW, raises up to 10 meters off the ground (achieving a total height of 17m), and is extremely robust and reliable.
The Sunflake rotates for optimal sun tracking, while the UCTT provides a stable vertical structure. Apart from size/weight performance, the innovative designs will bring to the field completely reliable deployment and retractability.
Both technologies are scalable, and modular.
In Phase II we propose to fully develop the kinematics and structure. Engineer, and build a large scale high fidelity kinematic prototype, while further developing, and applying the best available technologies. The design will be also proven through FEM analyses, and environmental testing.
The Sunflake array can easily be adapted for deployable arrays in microgravity.
It could be used on any form of human lander, or future lunar outpost, or orbital stations. Any missions that require lightweight portable high efficiency PV energy could be of interest.
The Sunflake/UCTT can be modified for deployment on Mars or other planetary missions. The structure can accommodate different tracking angles, anywhere from vertical to horizontal.
The Sunflake can also be re-configured for different deployable solutions, such as antennas.
A scaled down Sunflake Array/UCTT design, could find broad terrestrial applications, for lightweight, resilient pop-up PV power generation.
We believe that with additional research and development, the Sunflake/UCTT system could fill a void in solar power supplies - with an easily deployable array and stand, that can easily adapt to any surface angle and terrain, with built-in sun tracking.