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SBIR/STTR

TRUSSELATOR - On-Orbit Fabrication of High Performance Support Structures for Solar Arrays, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The Trusselator technology will enable on-orbit fabrication of support structures for high-power solar arrays and large antennas, achieving order-of-magnitude improvements in packing efficiency and launch mass while reducing life-cycle cost. The Phase I Trusselator effort successfully demonstrated fabrication of continuous lengths of high-performance carbon fiber truss using a novel additive manufacturing process, establishing the technology at TRL-4. The initial truss samples displayed bending stiffness efficiency superior to SOA deployable mast technologies. The Phase II effort will address the key technical risks and mature the Trusselator technology to TRL-6. We will do so by first refining the additive manufacturing process elements to improve process reliability and increase structural performance of the truss products. We will then design and prototype a Trusselator capable of operation in the thermal-vacuum environment of space, incorporating design improvements to reduce weight and stowed volume. Demonstration of fabrication of multi-meter lengths of truss in a vacuum environment will establish the technology at TRL-6. We will also develop an automated process for integrating the fabricated truss with thin-film solar cell blankets, and demonstrate this process with a solar cell blanket simulator. These Phase II efforts will prepare the Trusselator for flight demonstration in Phase III efforts to enable its adoption into the critical path for flight missions requiring high-power solar arrays. More »

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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