Colorado Patent of the Month – June 2021

Tendeg LLC works in the development of space antennas and deployables. Theyhave recently been working on a project called JPL Starshade which will join the search for Earth-like exoplanets. This project is a massive space structure which looks similar to a sunflower, with “petals” that can unfurl. As it unfurls these petals, it can position itself precisely to block sun rays and allow telescopes to better see dim planets. 

They have recently been working on developing this unfurling structure – referred to as the occulter petal unfurler – to best suit the functionality. The unfurler can be disposed to rotate in relation to the occulter, effectively unfurling petals as it rotates. The petals are coupled to the perimeter through a petal root. The petals can then be wound about the perimeter and this position is called “furled”. 

The unfurler is made of a carousel and spool system. The carousel is rotated around the spool in the direction opposite of the petal furling. For instance, if the petals are furled in a counterclockwise direction, the carousel would rotate clockwise. As it rotates it engages elongated members attached to the petals, extending them into an unfurled position. Through these detailed mechanics, they can create a space structure that can be easily controlled to aid in exploration.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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