Lightweight Deployable and Adaptive Systems for Space Applications

Philip Lubin
UC Santa Barbara
Department of Physics
Phone: (805) 893-8432

We propose a multi-disciplinary approach with students from the Physics and Engineering Departments at UCSB,  the Physics Dept at Cal State San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) and Santa Barbara City College (SBCC) to develop an actively adaptable and deployable Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) systems using servoed actuators with a laser interferometer feedback system. The Las Cumbres Observatory has donated significant amounts of machining time in a 4 and 5 axis CNC and ATK in Santa Barbara and San Diego is working with us on interferometer based metrology systems. Students from Mechanical Engineering (ME)  and Physics Deptartments at UCSB will work with Engineering and Physics students from our local community college (SBCC) as well as physics students from Cal Poly. We have excellent contacts in each of these schools and have a long track record of working with students and faculty from both schools. Our ME department students are using this as their Capstone project for this school year. Each year we take on ME students to work on space related projects and combinE these students with UCSB Physics and SBCC Engineering and Physics and Cal Poly Physics (possibly ME). Students will work as a team on this program which will involve the design and finite element analysis of very lightweight actively stabilized systems that will focus on both optical systems that are launchable (a 10 meter telescope to start) and deployable using ALGOR and COSMOS FEA packages, learn 3D CAD design using Solidworks and AutoCAD, learn 3-5 axis CNC machining design using MasterCAM, learn on the UCSB student CNC machines and then with the CNC operators at LCO, learn servo system design and electronic servo amplifier design and implement a closed loop servo software loop with a laser interferometer and phase modulation as the feedback. We have spoken to ATK in Goleta that makes most of the deployable solar panels for the US space program as well as designing space deployables for some upcoming satellite program and they are very interested in working together on this. ATK Goleta (formerly Abell Engineering) is one of the leaders in space deployable in the country. They are located one mile from campus and take in local UCSB and SBCC students as part of their workforce internships. As part of the UCSB Mechanical Engineering senior design program there is a team of 4 seniors working with us on this project. These students work for 9 months on a program known as the Capstone program. We tried this approach last year and it worked extremely well. Students meet weekly in formal sessions and have two critical design reviews and one final review, a final full day presentation and poster competition. By combining students at UCSB, Cal Poly and SBCC, we will forge new alliances that will encourage cross fertilization of ideas and personnel. By combining with professional industry in town we will give students access to potential future jobs and professional experience.