Versatile boom system for high-value deployment applications

Ref-Nr:

Example configuration of the AstroTube Max boom deploying LDA from a satellite

Technology abstract

The high cost and complexity of satellite launch has inspired Oxford Space Systems, a UK-based SME, to develop a range of lightweight and innovative payload deployment systems. The AstroTubeTM Max telescopic boom is highly scalable and versatile; with precision-controlled partial deployment and retraction with rotation.

Technology Description

Satellites use deployment mechanisms to position their payloads and propulsion systems. The high cost and complexity of launching satellites has provided the commercial opportunity to Oxford Space Systems (OSS) to develop a range of lightweight, simple, compact, and cost-competitive linear boom systems. The company now enjoys a growing global reputation for its expertise in novel & innovative deployable technologies for cost-focused “new space”.
The telescopic boom system comprises a proprietary space grade flexible composite; a lightweight, low complexity motor actuator with redundancy; and an outer CFRP telescope to provide tuneable stiffness. Based on a flight-proven design, the telescopic boom is highly scalable (0.5 – 10m) and structurally stiff, while offering optional rotation (via internal rifling – no rotary actuator is required), unlimited partial deployment. Integration of internal wiring looms and gas feeds is under development. Boom deployment speed and position are controlled via precision optical rotary encoder. 

Innovations & Advantages

  • Cost-competitive
  • Simple     
  • Lightweight       
  • Tuneable    
  • High stowage efficiency (footprint efficiency)     
  • Flight-proven design       
  • Highly Scalable (0.5 -10 metres)

Further Information

  • Operating Temperature Range: -80 to 120 ⁰C  
  • Peak Power Requirement:  ~2 W
  • Redundant drive motor for increased reliability

Current and Potential Domains of Application

Current Space Applications:

  • High mass payload deployment
  • Electric Propulsion (EP) placement
  • Large Deployable Antenna (LDA) deployment

 
Potential:

  • Industrial inspection
  • Materials handling
  • Communications masts
  • Surveillance masts