Opportunities and Challenges in Insertion of Advanced Materials Technologies into Spacecraft Systems Opportunities and Challenges in Insertion of Advanced Materials Technologies into Spacecraft Systems

S.P. Rawal
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company,
United States

Keywords: advanced materials, space craft

Summary:

Over the last 25 years, there have been significant advancements in the field of advanced composites, nanotechnology, additive manufacturing, and multifunctional materials and structures technologies. Of these technologies, advanced polymer composites are bring extensively used to fabricate spacecraft bus structures. Multifunctional structures incorporating other non-structural functions such as thermal, electrical, radiation shielding, power, and sensors have been investigated to develop an integrated structure which offers reduced mass, packaging volume, and ease of integration. Recent advancements in carbon nanotube and graphene technology potentially offer unique attributes such as electro-static dissipation, electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, and other thermal and mechanical properties. Similarly additive manufacturing has significantly advanced to process, polymeric, metallic and ceramic materials. Some of the components using nanocomposites, additive manufacturing, and multifunctional materials and structures technologies have been successfully flown on spacecraft bus structures Combining the advancements in composites, nanotechnology, and additive manufacturing, offers an opportunity to develop innovative multifunctional materials and structures designs. Next generation of multifunctional materials and structures designs could easily benefit from the best attributes of composites, nanotechnology, and additive manufacturing. While, ongoing technology development efforts in nanotechnology, and additive manufacturing offer unique opportunities to develop innovative multifunctional materials and structures designs, they also offer significant challenges in the qualification and acceptance into spacecraft systems. This paper presents a brief overview of the technology development and successful insertion of these technologies, and discusses the opportunities and challenges to develop and mature next generation multifunctional materials and structures.