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SBIR/STTR

Affordable, Lightweight, Compactly Stowable, High Strength / Stiffness Lander Solar Array, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Deployable Space Systems, Inc. (DSS) has developed a next-generation high performance solar array system specifically for NASA's future Lander and sample return missions. The proposed Lander solar array has game-changing performance metrics in terms of extremely high specific power, ultra-compact stowage volume, affordability, low risk, high environmental survivability/operability, high power and growth capability, high deployed strength and high strength during deployment (for mission environments that have high gravity and wind loading from atmospheres such as Mars), high deployed stiffness, high reliability, retraction and re-deployment capability, and broad modularity / adaptability to many missions. The proposed innovation is a tensioned membrane blanket solar array that stows very compactly with no auxiliary components extending beyond the stowed volume envelope of the stowed flexible blanket assembly, and when deployed becomes structurally pre-tensioned to create a deployed rigid body 'tensegrity-like' configuration that exhibits very high deployed strength and stiffness. The proposed technology innovation significantly enhances Lander and sample return vehicle capabilities through its enabling performance and by providing a low cost alternative renewable power generating system in place of the very expensive standard RTG systems currently being used. The proposed innovation greatly increases performance and autonomy/mobility, decreases risk, and ultimately enables missions. More »

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