Low Mass Aeroshell Deployment Mechanism
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.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Michael J. Fisher
Cornerstone Research Group, Inc.
2750 Indian Ripple Road Dayton, OH 45440
Number of Employees: