Robust, Lightweight Wiring for Space Applications
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
ABSTRACT: An ability to reduce the weight of cables has the potential to provide significant cost savings, reduce maintenance and improve reliability of satellites. The costs of developing and producing satellites are linearly proportional with the satellite"s weight, with each kilogram costing around $1 million when delivery-to-space costs are included. With global satellite launches expected to double in the next decade, reducing satellite weight would be a tremendous boon to governments and the commercial sector. Wire is a prime target for reducing weight; for example, copper wiring makes up as much as one-third of the weight of a 15-ton satellite. Furthermore, wires that use current aerospace insulations deteriorate with age, largely due to environmental conditions and inflight vibrations that cause chafing. Using a Phase I SBIR grant, Minnesota Defense and the University of Minnesota used carbon nanotubes (CNT) to create Coax and Ethernet cables that weigh 23.2% and 42%, respectively, less than commercial off-the-shelf cables. This Phase II grant will fund the optimization of the cables, validation of the physical performance of the wires, and conduction of accelerating aging tests to ensure full-life-cycle performance. BENEFIT: Reducing the weight of coax and ethernet cables using carbon nanotubes (CNT) has the potential to provide significant cost savings, reduce maintenance and improve reliability of satellites. These cables would be impactful for government as well as commercial satellite applications.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Minnesota Wire & Cable Co.
1835 Energy Park Drive Saint Paul, MN 55108-
Number of Employees: