A $750,000 deployable satellite boom structure development contract has been awarded by the US Air Force Research Laboratory's (AFRL) space vehicles directorate to Colorado based mechanical systems specialist Starsys.

The technology to be investigated under the small business innovation research (SBIR) award enables very large structures, including large aperture sensors, to be deployed using existing launch vehicles despite their limited payload fairing volumes.

The 24-month contract is to result in the development of a large, high stiffness, very-high expansion ratio deployable boom. Such booms can be used for radar systems. The award is a phase two follow-on contract resulting from design and trade study work completed during a phase I SBIR.

"This technology takes advantage of recent innovations in spacecraft mechanical deployment systems to form large, stable structures for deployment and positioning of instruments and sensors," says Starsys parent aerospace technology company Spacedev's chief executive Mark Sirangelo.

Spacedev recently signed a Space Act agreement with NASA. Under the agreement NASA will provide information about the agency's projected commercial demand for crew and cargo services to the International Space Station as well as technical support regarding commercial vehicle requirements for rendezvous and docking with the ISS.

NASA will also provide input to Spacedev's manned Dreamchaser vehicle's development programme through regularly scheduled technical exchange. Dreamchaser is based on the NASA Langley Research Center-developed HL-20 vehicle.

Related articles:

Source: Flight International