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SBIR/STTR

Electrostatic Clamp, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Electrostatic Clamp, Phase I
This proposal addresses Topic X6.02, Space Assembly Maintenance and Servicing. Spacecraft surface attachments, such as handholds, foot-restraints or tether points are often installed prior to flight, to aid planned EVA (Extravehicular Activity) operations. However, such aids are precluded where their pre-installation could compromise aerodynamic, or other important functions, of certain surfaces. Furthermore, unplanned EVA tasks are, at times, required to address in-flight emergencies or other unanticipated circumstances. For these situations, a versatile means of securing essential EVA assist attachments is needed. This study proposes to research and develop an electrostatic attachment system for rapid surface attachment of portable EVA assist devices, almost anywhere on the exterior (or interior) of a space-borne platform. The system will enhance the addressable scope and efficiency of EVA task performance and aid in astronaut (or material) maneuvering and transit, worksite restraint, and tool or equipment tie-down. The attachment system will incorporate a self-contained power source, capable of operating in a vacuum environment, to produce and maintain a surface conforming electrostatic charge of sufficient magnitude to induce a useful attractive Coulomb holding force between the device and the surface to which it is contacted, without damage or permanent alteration to the surface. More »

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