The innovative reversible ITR bonding approach could potentially find an application space in spacecraft technologies of NASA missions. For example, regarding effective operation and maintenance of long-term on-mission space stations (e.g. ISS), damaged structural elements can be easily replaced through convenient bond/debond mechanism of the ITR bonding. Also, construction of on-site habitable architectures requirements of NASA's foreseen deep space missions beyond low-Earth orbit would be facilitated via orbital replacement units transporting ITR joinable high disassembled packing factor building blocks to make reconfigurable structures. Additionally, on-going Solar Electric Propulsion project requirements of readjustable (folding/rolling) solar arrays configurations would be enriched through various other arrangements enabled through ITR bonding and performed through automated robotic assembly.
The solid-state reversible ITR bonding scheme could have a broad impact on other U.S. agencies and particularly aerospace industry is to promote welding-like bonding scheme along with cost, labor and material savings for primary aerospace composite structures. Regarding DARPA/Lockheed Martin X-55 Advanced Composite Cargo Aircraft demonstration, utilizing bonded composite components and fuselage structure, substantial weight savings on an aircraft frame were enabled by simply eliminating rivet and fastener use (more than 85%) along with other improvements in fabrication and assembly stages. Similar improvements can be obtained in polymer composite or metal used structural elements through application of ITR bonding.