"The Lightweight Materials and Structures project will develop advanced materials and structures technology to enable lightweight systems to reduce mission cost."
The LMS project has two major technical elements. The objective
of the first element, Solar Array Structures (SAS), is to mature
one or more deployable solar array designs for the 300 kW-class Solar
Electric Propulsion (SEP) tugs to TRL 5. These solar arrays will
be approximately 1500 m2 in total area which is about an order-of-magnitude
larger than the huge 160 m2 solar array blankets on the International
Space Station. The project will initially conduct a workshop to quantify
the challenges to be overcome and the technology gaps, to identify
possible approaches for overcoming these challenges and gaps, and
to develop design requirements. The project will identify and address
the most-challenging aspects of developing deployable solar array
structures, including aspects related to: compact stowage, reliable
deployment, high deployed strength and stiffness, robustness to dynamic
docking and maneuver loads, modularity, reusability, and ground validation.
A NASA team will analyze and ground test key aspects of the solar
array structural systems developed in this project. These ground
tests will likely use scale models of the SAS because of the extreme
sizes envisioned for the full-scale solar arrays. Analyses will be
performed to ensure that scale models of the SAS are designed and
manufactured with sufficient quality to validate the new technologies
comprising each proposed solar array concept.