Inflatable, Rigidized Collectors and Related Components for Solar Thermal Propulsion

Period of Performance: 03/01/1997 - 05/30/1999

$735K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

SRS Technologies
500 Discovery Dr
Huntsville, AL 35806
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

Solar thermal propulsion (STP) promises to double the specific impulse of orbit transfer vehicle propulsion systems, and thereby significantly increase payload insertion capability into GEO in terms of pounds per dollar. The project objective is to develop improved components for STP, in particular, light weight high accuracy deployable foam rigidized thin film solar concentrators suitable for long-duration missions without requiring make-up gas to compensate for micrometeoroid punctures. An innovative method for placement of rigidized foam afteron-orbit inflative deployment of a thin film concentrator was feasibility-demonstrated in Phase I. This will be developed into a practical technology in Phase II. The Phase II effort methodology will consist of: materials/processes/configuration refinement, scaled-up test articles design and fabrication, and te st article deployment, testing and demonstration at the Air Force Phillips Laboratory facilities. This project will also support goals of the Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology Program by increasing the performance of the Solar Thermal Rocket and improving the mass fraction of the components of the vehicle.