News | Apr 5, 2017

Roccor licenses satellite technology from Air Force Research Laboratory

Composite materials improve constellations of small, low orbit satellites

News Article Image of Roccor licenses satellite technology from Air Force Research Laboratory

Two CubeSats are photographed by an Expedition 38 crew member after the deployment by the launcher attached to the end of the Japanese robotic arm. The CubeSats program contains a variety of experiments such as Earth observations and advanced electronics testing. International Space Station solar array panels are at left. Earth's horizon and the blackness of space provide the backdrop for the scene.

A Colorado company providing low-cost, high performance deployable structure and thermal management systems technology for government and commercial space customers, finalized an agreement with Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate to license patented High Strain Component technologies.

Aerospace supplier Roccor’s licensing of the technology enables them to build a large number of Solar Array Deployment Systems to support networks of small telecommunications satellites in space.

Roccor recently moved into a facility in Longmont, which allows for high volume production of the company’s high strain component boom. The boom uses AFRL’s technology in controlling the release mechanism and kinematic mounts while in space, enabling deployment of solar arrays and electrical energy generation to power the constellation via the solar panels.

This mass production of the solar arrays is the foundation for large constellation support. The high strain component technology is also being used for a number of other customer applications including deployable hinges and antenna systems for other commercial and military customers.

ir Force Research Laboratory scientist Paul Hausgen demonstrates deploying the composite Roll-OutSolar Array slit-tube boom.

Air Force Research Laboratory scientist Paul Hausgen demonstrates deploying the composite Roll-Out Solar Array slit-tube boom, a technology which revolutionizes how satellites are powered. (Anita Collins/AFRL)

“AFRL’s HSC technology allows us to provide a more competitive deployable system solution based on performance and cost as compared to traditional mechanical systems,” said Doug Campbell, Roccor’s President & CEO. “This agreement with AFRL demonstrates the Air Force’s commitment to supporting small business and fostering greater industry growth for both commercial and government organizations.”

Roccor’s work with AFRL represents a technology transfer agreement used by the Air Force to share government developed engineering related to design or manufacturing activities with external, non-DoD partners.

The Air Force Technology Transfer Program was created to ensure Air Force science and engineering activities are transferred or intentionally shared with state and local governments, academia and industry. The exchange of knowledge, expertise, equipment, and testing facilities leverages the Department of Defense’s investment in research and development.

“Our relationship with Roccor is a prime example of the AFRL working directly with local companies to transition fundamental research to the private sector to support advancement of the industry as a whole,” said Matthew Fetrow of AFRL.

TechLink, DoD’s national partner in technology transfer, assisted Roccor’s president in preparing the patent license application.

“Transferring DoD technology to the private sector helps fill capability gaps for civilian and government clients,” said Joan Wu-Singel, senior technology manager at TechLink. “It also helps grow the economy and create jobs.”


Related video: Roccor demonstrates its space camera boom

Headshot Image of Joan Wu-Singel, CLP

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