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Boston University Student Proposal for Deployable Solar and Antenna Array Microgravity Testing

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Project Introduction

Boston University Student Proposal for Deployable Solar and Antenna Array Microgravity Testing
The Boston University Satellite Project (BUSAT) is a program which seeks to develop a satellite platform for easy integration of Cubesat-standard scientific payloads into a system designed for the environment of space. The primary goal of the experiment within this proposal is to characterize and demonstrate the mechanical responsiveness of two key hardware components to be utilized by BUSAT, a solar panel deployment system and an antenna array deployment system. In doing so, BUSAT intends to create standardized, low-cost, and reliable systems with extensive use of COTS components The project goals of this proposal should be of significant interest to NASA due to the fact that the system employs a common universal interface design, restraint/release devices, and flexible material deployment techniques. All three of these features are highly compatible with NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps. In addition, the ability to test these components in microgravity will advance the maturation of BUSATs overall design objectives, one of which is to develop a broadly applicable platform for Cubesat-standard scientific payloads which by themselves lack the necessary subsystems to operate successfully in environment of space The solar panel deployment system makes use of a non-pyrotechnic, fracturing bolt device which allows for spring hinges to swing the panels into an open position. As the panels open, antenna boxes positioned underneath them will extend spring-loaded, flexible antenna coils into predetermined orientations and will fix them in this orientation for the duration of the space mission. Due to the nature of these stored energy devices it is highly desirable to analyze their responsiveness in the closest approximation possible to actual condition. With several components moving simultaneously, it is important to establish that the antenna extension does not interfere with solar panel deployment while both devices are in the process of locking in place. Multiple parabolic flights are desired in order to obtain results with different hardware configurations and orientations. These tests are intended to establish a most reliable deployment strategy which will allow for the highest possibility of success in space-ready versions of these two components. More »

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