Large Deployable Technologies for Space
Large deployable structures are needed as the backbone and as an integral part of large reflectors, Earth observation antennas, radiators, sun shields and solar arrays. In addition to providing a deployment function, the large space deployable structures can provide shape and stability for a spacecraft throughout its mission. Deployable structures have the capability of reducing mass substantially and also allow for a very compact storage volume during the launch phase of a mission. To date, there is a limited number of European deployable structures being developed due to the inherit risk, cost and complexity associated with them. In addition, the conservative nature of the space industry combined with the environmental and materials challenges related to the deployment and sustainability of space structures makes the problem even more challenging. The TRL level of most deployable technologies is currently low due to this associated risk. The objective of this project is to develop 3 specific, useful and innovative large space deployable technologies: an inflatable sail structure, a deployable solar panel and a CFRP deployable boom. The aim is to develop these technologies from a current TRL of 2-3 to 6-8 within the 3 years of the proposed DEPLOYTECH project. The project addresses two key areas required for the development of critical space technologies as described in the SPA.2011.2.2-02 call: 1. Large thin walled deployable boom and membrane structures 2. Large thin walled inflatable structures. Ground prototypes of the three deployable technologies will be developed and qualified for future flight opportunities which have already been shortlisted with industrial partners. The DEPLOYTECH consortium is an exciting, well experienced group with world leading capabilities in deployable structures and with a with a well balanced mix of SME’s, industrial primes and university/research institutes able to provide an innovative, low risk capability missing in Europe.