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Expandable Habitat Outfit Structures, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Topic H3.01 captures the need for robust, multipurpose deployable structures with high packing efficiencies for next generation orbital habitats. Multiple launch and payload providers have expressed interest in repurposing pressure vessels as on-orbit habitats and require outfitting for secondary structure, floors and dividers, ECLS ducting, thermal control accommodation, radiation shielding, wiring, lighting etc. to make the volume functional. The proposed innovation uses multi-functional, intelligent fabrics in a tensioned membrane architecture that can be deployed by means of (a) pressurized annulus envelope that when inflated, expands against the habitat hull to anchor the structure while (b) multipurpose telescoping tubes at the core of the habitat expand in the axial direction across the opposing bulkheads to index the annulus pressure vessels. Tensioned membrane structures exhibit the highest specific stiffness of any known structure and can produce significant weight savings over hybrid structural designs. Inflatable structures package well and can significantly reduce stowed volume requirements and dampen launch vibro-acoustics. An inflatable habitat structure can most effectively address packaging, deployment, damage tolerance, ease of repair and in-flight maintenance. With lightweight rigging, these secondary structures will be designed to be fully repositionable, creating a modular approach to habitat outfitting. The Paragon/TRLA team will develop a design that packages efficiently, deploys repeatability, and provides valuable capabilities including a.) minimum mass, design simplicity, minimal parts count, b.) a structure which folds efficiently deployment repeatability c.) secondary soft goods fabricated which are integrated during build-up yielding minimal ground handling loads, and d.) flooring, walls, ECLS air flow ducts, TCS fluid loops, lighting, electrical/data lines, and radiation protection structures all integrated in unison during buildup. More »

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