Phase I results demonstrated the feasibility of using shape memory polymer composites to deploy, tension and support gossamer antennas. Cornerstone Research Group, Inc. (CRG) has completed the critical initial development steps for a deployable support structure meeting NASA's requirements for a structure to deploy, tension, and support gossamer antennas. CRG proposes to further develop this lightweight, self-deploying VeritexTM
strut for use as a supporting structure for gossamer antennas. VeritexTM
composites are similar to other high-performance composites, except that CRG's shape memory polymer (SMP) resin, VeriflexTM
, is used as the matrix resin. This allows for easy manipulation of the composite above the activation temperature, making it a unique material for use in dynamic structures and other applications requiring both load strength and "shape-shifting" modulus flexibility. In this Phase I program, CRG has developed and evaluated materials and related fabrication technologies based on VeritexTM
, and produced a sub-scale working proto-type. This technical approach fulfills NASA's requirement for a very large, lightweight, on-orbit deployable RF antenna aperture structure by offering a practical, deployable, structural support that will address the short comings of current rigidified inflatables and mechanically deployed structures.