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Biomimetic Fabricated Solar Sail Technologies
Title: Principal Investigator
Phone: (256) 971-7081
Title: Corp. V.P. and Gen. Mgr.
Phone: (256) 971-7000
Solar sails have been recognized by NASA as a key technology for enabling many future NASA missions to explore the solar system and beyond. Sailcraft of 250m and above, for outer planetary and extra solar missions, are not feasible with current technology and will require both a paradigm shift away from ground-based fabrication and the development of new innovative sail technologies. The current paradigm of ground-based fabrication followed by space-based deployment could be replaced by in-space fabrication of sails up to a kilometer in size. The Phase I technical objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept of in-space fabrication of a biomemetic, bird-feather-like sail structure based on vacuum flash foaming from spinnaret-terminated tubes. The end result of this research will be the development of a lab scale process for in-space fabrication and metallizing of solar sails with very low areal density. This process would be readily scalable to a larger demonstration of a prototype sail segment under a Phase II effort.
* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *