Novel Composite Material Architecture for Space Radar Reflector Producibility
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
The Air Force needs large diameter high accuracy reflectors for use in the X-Band frequency (8-12 GHz) range. Deployable structures are a promising solution to meet the needs of this radar application. They are becoming practical for launch and deployment given their compact stowage and high specific stiffness. However, surface accuracy and operational dimensional stability are fundamental driving requirements in these systems and remain significant challenges to their manufacture. In response to this need, Infoscitex Corporation (IST) has proposed to develop an innovative architecture composite that can reduce minimum gauge requirements and yet achieve near zero coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) structures to provide better dimensional stability for this application. In this Phase I program, IST will design and fabricate a series of new hybrid fiber architecture thin gauge composite elements to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving greater thermal stability. IST will also demonstrate the broad uses for this novel composite architecture in representative deployable structures in conjunction with its team partner, Foster-Miller. In the Phase II program, IST will further pursue this new approach through the manufacture of a deployable structure demonstration article and leverage its current work in electro-textile reflector meshs to make the demonstrator operational.
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