Magnetometers and field sensors also have potential commercial applications. To date, Earth survey using magnetometers for commercial purposes has utilized NASA sensors, however. Commercial dedicated surveys have relied on magnetometers flown on aircraft to study small areas in detail. However, there would be commercial value in higher resolution, more sensitive magnetometry data available on a worldwide basis. This data may be commercially enabled as an additional function of commercial imaging satellites by a low cost magnetometer boom. In addition, military and commercial satellites could use gravity gradient booms, solar arrays, phased arrays, and solar sails based on this technology.
Compact, mass efficient and cost effective composite booms are needed to deploy magnetometers for Earth observation satellites, magnetometers for planetary probes, and electric field sensors. Literally hundreds of magnetometer booms have been designed and flown since the dawn of the space age. Despite the common need for non-metallic booms, a convenient and simple standard deployable boom has not emerged as a competitive solution. In addition, a simple canisterized boom could be used for gravity gradient booms for small spacecraft, and for deploying solar sails. With adaptations for higher torque output, a self-deployed composite boom could also be used to support solar arrays and phased array antennas. Finally, the design could be adapted to deploy a large drag sail to reduce the deorbit time of medium and large satellites in higher LEO orbits at the end of mission life to meet NASA requirements for reduction of orbital debris.