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- A document proposes self-deploying spacecraft radar antennas based on cold hibernated elastic memory (CHEM) structures. Described in a number of prior NASA Tech Briefs articles, the CHEM concept is one of utilizing open-cell shape-memory-polymer (SMP) foams to make lightweight structures that can be compressed for storage and can later be expanded, then rigidified for use. A CHEM-based antenna according to the proposal would comprise three layers of microstrip patches and transmission lines interspersed with two flat layers of SMP foam, which would serve as both dielectric spacers and as means of deployment. The SMP foam layers would be fabricated at full size at a temperature below the SMP glass-transition temperature (Tg). The layers would be assembled into a unitary structure, which, at temperature above Tg, would be compacted to much smaller thickness, then rolled up for storage. Next, the structure would be cooled to below Tg and kept there during launch. Upon reaching the assigned position in outer space, the structure would be heated above Tg to make it rebound to its original size and shape. The structure as thus deployed would then be rigidified by natural cooling to below Tg
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20110020301.
NASA Tech Briefs, October 2004; 33.
- Copyright, Distribution as joint owner in the copyright.
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