Intelligent Flexible Materials for Deployable Space Structures (InFlex) 2006-01-2065
This paper summarizes the development of multi-functional intelligent flexible materials for deployable space structures, otherwise known as the InFlex program. The goal of the work was to enhance the capabilities of inflatable structures for exploration activities such as habitats, airlocks, and space suits, with improved materials ultimately to reduce crew burden and lifecycle costs, improve system safety, and reduce system mass and launch volume. Several technical areas were investigated concurrently in an effort to combine functions and create efficient structures. These included self-healing materials, structural health monitoring systems, radiation protective materials, reduced permeability materials, anti-microbial materials, and embedded power generation and storage technologies. Methods of signal transfer were also studied in conjunction with a centralized display and warning system to interact with systems operations personnel. Individual materials and assemblies of materials have been produced and tested.