Inflatable Structures
The Space Inflatable Structures domain is a new area of expertise in the TEKEVER SPACE portfolio and it has known continued interest over recent years mainly due to increases in the number of satellites to be launched that will emphasize the need for the reduction of space hardware mass, stowage volume, and cost. One approach to realizing these reductions is through the use of ultra-lightweight, deployable space structures. The usage of inflatable structures instead of conventional deployable structures offers multiple benefits, as they can be packaged into smaller volumes, allowing mass savings and more reduced launch costs. The performance benefit margin of inflatable structures increases as the size of the structure increases, thus making the technology more attractive for large-scale systems (also known as Gossamer spacecrafts). Examples of satellite components that benefit from the usage of inflatable structures include many known technological areas, some of which are familiar to the TEKEVER Group and TEKEVER SPACE in particular, like land communications antennas and radar antennas.

There are currently many interesting applications for advanced space structures whose development TEKEVER SPACE is following very closely, including:
  • Space observatories with large size collectors and sub-millimeter surface accuracy
  • Solar sails of large size with lower area densities
  • Large, space-based antenna structures for mobile communications, earth-observation radiometry, active microwave sensing, space-orbiting very-long-baseline interferometry, or space-based radars
  • Orbital transfer vehicles with large inflatable concentrators for solar thermal propulsion
  • Next-generation space telescopes with large membrane sunshields for passive cooling
  • Space solar power collectors and transmitters that are hundreds or even thousands of meters in size
  • Inflatable habitats for space stations (e.g. International Space Station) or for future lunar and planetary exploration
  • Meteoroid and debris shielding and smart materials related to protection of spacecraft against hypervelocity impacts (space debris or meteoroids)
TEKEVER SPACE is researching analytical models for inflatable structures, packaging and deployment techniques and has the capability to build small scale composite prototypes.