Deployable Composite Booms (DCB)

Rendering of a future CubeSat-based solar sailcraft that will use the composite booms under development to deploy, tension and support the reflective ultra-thin membrane. As depicted, such a solar sail can be used to travel to Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) to gather strategic knowledge-gap information for future mission planning.

Rendering of a future CubeSat-based solar sailcraft that will use the composite booms under development to deploy, tension and support the reflective ultra-thin membrane. As depicted, such a solar sail can be used to travel to Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) to gather strategic knowledge-gap information for future mission planning. Credits: NASA

Extremely compact, deployable, lightweight composite booms are being developed now for future deep space small spacecraft missions.

Most high technology readiness deployable space structures are designed for medium- to large-sized satellite and spacecraft applications. The lack of reliable deployable structural systems for low cost, small volume, rideshare-class spacecraft, such as CubeSats, currently limits the potential of small satellite platforms for use in low-cost science and exploration missions, and in particular, deep space missions, where relatively large deployed structures are required for power, communications, and in some instances propulsion.

NASA is currently investing in the development of a new class of advanced deployable shell-based composite booms to support future deep space small satellite missions. These new concepts are being designed to meet the unique requirements of small satellites.  These requirements include: packageable in very small volumes,  testable on the ground under one gravity, inexpensive to manufacture, scalable for use as elements of hierarchical structures (e.g. trusses), capable of being stored for long periods without significant distortions in deployed shape, have high deployment reliability, and have controlled deployment behavior and predictable deployed dynamics.

Associated Research Links

Advanced Deployable Shell Based Composite Booms for Small Satellite Structural Applications Including Solar Sails

NASA’s Advanced Solar Sail Propulsion System for Low-Cost Deep Space Exploration and Science Missions that Use High Performance Rollable Composite Booms

Advanced Deployable Structural Systems for Small Satellites

 

Principal Technologist Principal Investigator Project Manager
W. Keith Belvin (w.k.belvin@nasa.gov) Juan M. “Johnny” Fernandez (juan.m.fernandez@nasa.gov) Phillip L. Brown (phillip.l.brown@nasa.gov)

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