Spirally Stowed Architecture for Large Photovoltaic Arrays

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

TentGuild Engineering Co
Boulder, CO 80305
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


Proposed is an architecture for large (>200 m2 surface area) photovoltaic (PV) arrays, deployable from compact stowage with one single, continuously smooth sweep of motion and directly scalable to sizes at least an order of magnitude larger to provide surface areas beyond 4000 m2 -- the area associated with 1 MW power production, the upper limit of projected solar electric propulsion (SEP) needs in 10-20 years. In particular, examined is the integration of a version of the "spiral fold" (an origami-like surface mechanism to wrap without stretching a tessellated sheet on a hub) and wrap rib technology (supporting ribs that also wrap around the hub when stowed) with some additional concept elements to increase stiffness when deployed and the robustness of deployment. Kinematic conflicts between components with geometric mismatch in a real-life hardware context re resolved, metrics for stowage and structural performance are assessed, and a streadmlined concept design is defined to satisfy all targeted specifications. TRL level is advanced from 1 to 3.