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Lafayette, CO, United States

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.98K | Year: 2014

Mass and volume efficient solar arrays are sought by NASA, DoD and commercial space to enable high power missions from 20-50 kW in the near term and eventually up to 350 kW. Currently, the maximum power available from conventional solar arrays, for a given spacecraft, is limited by either the weight or stowage volume of the honeycomb panel substrates. Flexible substrate arrays can enable higher power spacecraft by improving specific power (W/kg) and specific volume (kW/m3) as well as improving the deployed natural frequency. Typical designs for flexible substrate array require a stiff boom mechanism to deploy the array and provide the deployed structure. Heritage flexible substrate arrays have used metallic slit-tube or coilable longeron booms. To be feasible, large, next-generation flexible substrate solar arrays require deployable booms that are more thermally stable than metallic slit-tubes (STEMs), and less expensive and lighter than coilable longeron booms (i.e. AstroMast). To address this need, CTD has developed the Stable Tubular Extendible Lock-Out Composite Boom (STELOC Boom). The STELOC Boom can provide stiffness equivalent to coilable longeron booms with a significantly reduced volume, mass and cost. The Phase I program demonstrated feasibility of the STELOC boom as the deployment actuator and primary structural component of a 15 kW solar array wing. The proposed Phase II program will advance the STELOC Boom to TRL 5 through the design, fabrication and testing of a flight-like Engineering Development Unit.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.97K | Year: 2014

The successful implementation of fusion energy will require large superconducting magnets that shape and confine high-energy plasmas. Magnets made with YBCO superconductors hold promise for being able to achieve the high fields needed for the production of commercial-scale fusion energy. However, improved electrical insulations and magnet designs are needed to ensure the reliable operation of these devices over long periods of time. The primary objective of the Phase I work will be to minimize the stresses in YBCO coils to produce reliable plasma confinement magnets. This will be accomplished through the use of finite element models to evaluate and predict the stresses in the coils, and the development of electrical insulations that mitigate these stresses while providing the necessary electro-mechanical performance. The goal will be for the potting / insulation material to absorb most of the tensile strain that results from cooling and energizing the coil and thereby minimize the stresses within the winding. The overall goal is to develop and demonstrate HTS coils for use in fusion energy applications. The primary emphasis will be placed on managing the mechanical stresses within the YBCO conductor and optimizing the overall performance of these magnets. These objectives will be accomplished through the development of finite element models, the development and application of new electrical insulations, and the fabrication and testing of HTS wire assemblies and sub-scale coils to demonstrate coil performance and validate the FEA model. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: In addition to magnet applications, the products of this work will be applicable to motors used in ships and rail applications, generators for wind energy systems, and advanced power cables.

Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 999.93K | Year: 2014

The U.S. DOE is very interested in promoting on-board vehicular hydrogen storage systems that will enable a driving range of greater than 300 miles while meeting packaging, cost, safety, and performance requirements. State-of-the-art hydrogen storage vessels that meet these requirements are currently very expensive to manufacture due to high carbon fiber costs. This work addresses the need for lower- cost tanks by utilizing recently-developed, low-cost fibers and graded composite designs. The Phase I/Phase II project seeks to reduce the cost of hydrogen storage vessels for fuel cell powered cars by 25% by using low-cost carbon fibers in a graded construction of the vessel wall. CTD performed detailed design iterations using laminate analysis and finite element analysis to optimize the design and minimize the cost of a 700 bar hydrogen storage vessel using a graded construction, demonstrating that a 25% reduction in cost is feasible if suitable lower cost fibers are available. CTD also investigated low cost fiber options developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Target areas for improvement, including the need to develop methods for handling large fiber tows and improving fiber and matrix interactions were identified. In Phase II, fiber handling, fiber sizing, and polymer matrix materials will be optimized to provide the best combination of low cost and high performance for hydrogen storage vessels. This work will include the fabrication and testing of composite laminates, as well as burst tubes or small tanks. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: In addition to optimizing the cost of 700 bar hydrogen storage vessels, low-cost composite structures have application in wind and tidal turbine blades, as well as in automotive and marine structures.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.92K | Year: 2016

Our present understanding of magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling is limited, partly due to the lack of broad statistical observations of the 3-dimensional (3D) electric field in the altitude region between 300 and 1000km. This understanding is of national importance because it is a necessary step toward developing the ability to measure and forecast the "space weather" that affects modern technology. The high cost of space access and short satellite lifetimes below 500 km make traditional satellites uneconomical for performing these measurements. Therefore, it is desirable to develop smaller and lower-cost sensor/satellite systems, such as CubeSats, so that the largest possible number of distributed measurements can be economically made in this region. The proposed project seeks to develop a 3D vector electric field instrument that can be accommodated in less than half of a 6U (10x20x30 cm) CubeSat. This instrument is enabled by CTD's game changing deployable composite boom technology that provides lightweight, stiff, straight, and thermally stable booms capable of being stowed within a CubeSat form factor. The proposed development will also provide the CubeSat community with the capability to include one or more deployable booms with lengths greater than 5 meters for future CubeSat missions.

Composite Technology Development, Inc. | Date: 2015-04-08

A system comprising a boom having a first end, a longitudinal length, and a slit that extends along the longitudinal length of the boom; a drum having an elliptic cross section and a longitudinal length; an attachment mechanism coupled with the first end of the boom and the drum such that the boom and the drum are substantially perpendicular relative to one another; an inner shaft having a longitudinal length, the inner shaft disposed within the drum, the longitudinal length of the inner shaft is aligned substantially parallel with the longitudinal length of the drum, the inner shaft at least partially rotatable relative to the drum, and the inner shaft is at least partially rotatable with the drum; and at least two cords coupled with the inner shaft and portions of the boom near the first end of the boom.

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