Researchers are developing origami antennas deployable in space….all thanks to basic research!
A small basic research investment by the Air Force Research Laboratory, in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), created a community of origami researchers who in six short years have transitioned to working on applied technologies for the Air Force. The story begins in 2012 when AFRL’s Air Force Office of Scientific Research partnered with NSF to develop the Origami Design for Integration of Self-assembling Systems for Engineering Innovation program.
Nearly $28M has been invested in this program with the goal of creating the mathematical and material foundation for self-folding origami systems and commercializing the concepts. Now six years after its initial investment, AFRL researchers are developing origami antennas deployable in space. This type of technology requires a multidisciplinary approach, leveraging the knowledge of original and new university partners as well as the expertise of AFRL experts in Materials and Manufacturing, Aerospace Systems, Sensors, and Space Vehicles.