Structural Isogrid/Membrane for Packaging Large Efficient Reflectors (SIMPLER)

Period of Performance: 04/29/2005 - 07/30/2007


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Foster-miller, Inc.
350 Second Ave.
Waltham, MA 02451
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The Air Force has a pressing need for large, structurally efficient reflectors for both radar and high bandwidth communication. Because launch volumes are limited, the large aperture must be volume efficient as well. To meet the stated needs of future DoD missions, the reflectors must be very precise as well as large in diameter relative to its stowed volume. The proposed program will combine hierarchical layers of ultra-efficient deployable hexagonal and isogrid structures with thin reflecting membranes to form large reflectors with the precise surfaces required for high frequency applications. The varying levels of hierarchy allow the technology to be applied to a range of systems from micro-satellites to very large antennae, always providing high structural and packaging efficiency. The FMI team will develop the Structural Isogrid/Membrane for Packaging Large Efficiency Reflectors (SIMPLER) system through a careful plan of design, modeling, prototype manufacture, and testing. Complete development of this technology will provide the DoD with a micro-satellite reflector system that will enable better, lighter, and less expensive antennae deployed from smaller packaged volumes. The micro-satellite prototype performance will be extrapolated to that of much larger systems. (P-050063)