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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

An Outrigger Component for a Deployable Occulter System

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

An Outrigger Component for a Deployable Occulter System, Phase II

In Phase II, Roccor proposes to build upon the results of Phase I to increase the technology readiness level (TRL) of the NASA JPL deployable external occulter. An occulter, which is a satellite flying far from a telescope and employing a large screen or, starshade, to suppress the incoming starlight, is used for detecting and characterizing exoplanets. Detecting Earthlike planets existing within the habitable zones of nearby stars is a key element of NASA's space exploration mission. The NASA JPL starshade incorporates a deployable center ring-truss as a hub and flower-like petals that wrap around the hub for packaging. As a result, it exhibits exceptionally challenging deployment kinematics. Roccor's Phase II will contribute to maturing the design of the NASA JPL deployable starshade through system and component design and analysis and supporting ground-demo hardware thereby helping to position it for spaceflight should it be transitioned to a NASA flight mission.Roccor's broad Phase II focus is on maturing each of the deployable starshade system elements that support the petals including the unfurling control system, the launch control system, and the deployed strut system. Innovative solutions have been conceptualized for each of these petal support functions as part the Phase I program. In Phase II, Roccor will emphasize developing and demonstrating the proposed petal unfurling technology culminating in a 1/3 scale fully functional and motorized hardware demonstration with 30 petal simulators, 3 of them being instrumented and strength-representative (e.g. fragile and narrow petal tips). Roccor will also further develop the launch control system and deployed strut-support system through extensive design and analysis.

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