Not too long ago, NASA challenged the GrabCAD Community to design an innovative wind tunnel test section(s) that can increase the effectiveness of an advanced transonic (between Mach 0.05 to 1.6) wind tunnel facility.
NASA issued a new challenge to the GrabCAD community asking them to design an ultralight starshade structure to support the proposed NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts (NIAC) study called the Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets (HOEE).
We want to thank everyone who participated in this Ultralight Starshade Structural Design Challenge. The goal of the study will help inform NASA on the feasibility of the Hybrid Observatory for Earth-like Exoplanets mission concept and will be considered along with the HOEE team conceptual studies.
Below are the winners:
NASA Challenge Winners
"This concept contained a high level of creativity and innovation with a tensegrity-based design combining inflatable tubes for compression structures and cables for tension. The report was well done as were the 3D models and renderings. A tensegrity-based starshade structure in space is worth exploring further due to potential mass advantages. A good mass rack-up description was provided."
"Provided a professional submission with excellent detail. Feasibility of deployment is still a concern and needs to be looked into at a higher fidelity. Replaces Astromesh design from the JPL starshade with composite tube structure. Requires fewer truss members. Replaces hinged rib petal supports with composite structure with out-of-plane curvature for stiffness (similar to a metal roll-up tape measure). Adjacent petals are deployed in opposite directions to mitigate potential contact between petals.
Provided some structural analysis results. Uses out-of-plane curvature of the petals to make them more rigid.
Includes good analysis and petals with out-of-plane stiffening. One of the most detailed write-ups. Variation on Habex with optimization. Interesting symetric deployment. A thorough and very thoughtful submittal!"
"Good work on deployment. Providing means to de-rotate the spacecraft while enabling the starshade to spin is a good idea. Using inflation to rigidize the petals will help.
Although there are several technical challenges, the truss concept is interesting/different but may be feasible to implement.. Would suggest building the truss out of carbon fiber."
"Bicycle wheel design, with petals replicating JPL design. Truing of the wheel requires very precise tensioning. Battery powered motors and wireless control. Provides a serious attempt to modify the existing design, Although the submitter claims to meet mass requirement, there are no stiffness or strength calculations.
Detailed mass calculation.. Good detail in the CAD model. Iteration from HabEx design with some optimization."
"Nice drawings and models but limited description leaves many unanswered questions.
Hybrid design with origami folds and inflatable structure. Provided a good concept but needs additional detail and analysis.
Polymerizes on orbit with inflation gas. . "
"High level of creativity and originality and worth exploring further; Appears to be a well-crafted concept with a complex network of cables which would make this a very difficult deployment.
No stiffness or strength calculation was submitted so there is a great deal of uncertainty. High marks for ingenuity. Tension cables above but little or no tension below so will need more cables underneath to balance the forces.
Uses Auxetic Polyurethane Foam for a tensegrity structure made of inflatable tubes. Interesting looks like San Diego Convention center!"
"Initial mass estimate of ~2600kg. Uses telescoping tube assemblies. Petals made of 3mil Kapton bonded to ""tape measure"" metallic frame.
The PPT had a lot of information. Detailed CAD model and written description. Design with rolled-up wedges is unique."
“A very thoughtful re-examination of the existing starshade design with an innovative deployment method. Uses ribs (called veins) wrapped around the central hub, then inflated, then stiffened with an injectable resin. Uses springs to push the petals apart and maintain a tension. However the springs may be visible between the petals, so other methods should be investigated. There’s no calculation of mass or stiffness or strength. But there’s a nice physical model showing the deployment concept. .”
"Membrane deployment via spinning....inertia of membrane mass deploys it. 10rpm required for deployment. 3rpm required after deployment prior to any further accelerations. Starshade skin is double-sided (front and back) such that micrometeoroid penetration will not nullify light blockage from the exoplanet host star. Unique idea but needs further analysis to determine actual feasibility. 3D structure of petals with up and down space, good for stiffening.
Unknown response to rocket jet force, unknown what it does when we change the spin axis, unknown how to spin it up and down.”