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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Low Mass Aeroshell Deployment Mechanism, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Low Mass Aeroshell Deployment Mechanism, Phase II
Cornerstone Research Group Inc. (CRG) will develop new shape memory polymer (SMP) deployment mechanisms for actuating thermal protection system (TPS) panels to create a deployable, large surface area aeroshell. This innovation will exploit Veriflex(R) -- CRG's high-performance SMP material -- to create a low-mass actuation system for a deployable aeroshell design. Veriflex(R)-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. Veriflex(R)-based deployment mechanisms will enable 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 entry 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 entry vehicle would not increase. This innovation directly addresses the need for aeroassist/aerocapture technology for planetary exploration spacecraft as defined by subtopic S7.04 of NASA SBIR/STTR Solicitation 2006-1. More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.