The proposed effort focuses on two critical phases required for a successful Venus Aerobot mission. The aerobot platform is optimized for the science portion of the flight, it must first be deployed to Venus and inflated. These are the two focus areas for the proposed Phase II effort. Phase I developed a robust technique for providing a controlled deployment and supported the inflation process by helping align the envelope to prevent damage caused by excessive shock loads or flagging. Phase I then culminated with hangar tests using off the shelf hardware, demonstrating the feasibility of the design. Phase II will specifically address mission specific hardware, designed for the requirements of the Venus mission, and validate the deployment and inflation techniques with a flight test.
The principal commercial application of this Phase II effort is to validate the mission specific designs necessary for an Aerobot mission to Venus.
There is significant effort to develop Venus Aerobot platforms, primarily focused on the final mission phase. It is absolutely critical to first be able to deploy and inflate the system once reaching the Venus atmosphere.
The techniques developed under this effort also apply to the fast growing commercial operation of high altitude platforms.