Development of Ultralightweight, Dimensionally Stable, Rigid Panels for Space-Based Radar Antenna

Period of Performance: 04/30/1998 - 04/12/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Composite Optics, Inc.
9616 Distribution Ave.
San Diego, CA 92121
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The purpose of this SBIR is to develop multifunctional structural panels incorporating TRAM technology, and pretensioned array deployment and support methods, yet, providing improved surface metrology and capability for greater thermal and structural stability. COI proposes to utilize its extensive experience with polymer matrix graphite fiber reinforced composites to develop ultralightweight and dimensionally stable panels for space-based radar antenna applications.Innovative panel designs using triaxial weave composites will be evaluated. These designs will include rigid fixed thickness panels and rigid expanded thickness panels. The rigid expanded thickness being proposed for more efficient stowage of the antenna array. Other ideas will be generated during the conduction of this research program and will be evaluated with those presented herein.As part of this SBIR, the compression member and/or deployment arm for the array will be designed for CTE matching of the panels. A composite of graphite and boron fibers will be used to minimize CTE mismatch with panels and maximize stiffness.This research will consist of material property testing, panel design and characterization, trade studies (including "rigid fixed" and "rigid-expanded" thickness panels), recommendations and work plan for Phase II research.