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SBIR/STTR

Low Mass Aeroshell Deployment Mechanism, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Low Mass Aeroshell Deployment Mechanism, Phase I
Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) will develop new shape memory polymer (SMP) deployment mechanisms for actuating thermal protective systems (TPS) panels to create a deployable large surface area aeroshell. This innovation will utilize VeriflexTM -- CRG's high performance SMP material -- to create a low mass actuation system for a deployable the aeroshell design. VeriflexTM-based mechanisms will deploy the aeroshell without the use of motors, springs, or mechanical controls. These simple, self-deploying, self-aligning mechanisms will reduce the mass and the complexity of the aeroshell design. VeriflexTM-based deployment mechanisms will allow the use of panels made from existing TPS materials to create a large surface area aeroshells that will stow in a highly compact pre-launch and storage configuration and then self-deploy before reentry to the operational configuration. The TPS panels will deploy outward and increase the diameter of the aeroshell. For every 10 percent increase in the diameter, there will be a 21 percent increase in the total surface area of the aeroshell. The relative volume of space needed to stow the reentry vehicle would not increase. More »

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