GFTS™ Spaceflight Heritage
Though TAI began development work on GFTS technology in 1995 (and were awarded USAF SBIR Ph. I and II programs to research and further develop GFTS technology in 1996 and 1997), our first space flight programs did not begin until 2013, with the Federal Government's/NASA's Orion program, and programs with the USAF.
Our engineers, technicians and administrative staff have extensive experience with space flight programs and the Quality Assurance processes and qualification that is required by the industry's top primes. From Honeywell, to Lockheed Martin, Ball Aerospace and others,we can not only understand and comply with your organization's requirements, but we can actually help you draft your SOW, specification, and RFQ, and determine which requirements and qualifications make the most sense given your budget and time constraints..
Our GFTS™ assemblies have been used in a variety of advanced thermal management space/flight applications, in areas such as: antennas, satellite electronics boxes, data acquisition systems, optics systems, cryogenic refrigerator compressors, communication and power electronic systems, and electromechanical systems.
GFTS™ Space Qualification Data
GFTS™ assemblies have undergone extensive testing and qualification under severe environmental and launch conditions. If your program requires stiffness, shock, vibe or other types of qualification testing, let us know, and we will happy to work with you to develop your SOW and spec accordingly. In the table below, you can find examples of some of the testing extremes which our straps have undergone in previous space flight programs.
GFTS Flight Programs
NASA's ORION PROGRAM
On December 5th, NASA successfully launched its new Orion spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and was carried into the skies on the Delta IV heavy rocket. NASA hopes this will “foreshadow the first human expedition to Mars.”
A little over 4 hours later, after orbiting Earth twice (and flying further and faster than any spacecraft designed for manned spaceflight since the Apollo moon program), Orion splashed down back to Earth in the Pacific, just off the coast of southwest California and the Baja Peninsula.
TAI is proud to announce that our Flexible Graphite Fiber Thermal Straps play a critical role in the thermal management of Orion’s communications and Data Acquisition and Management systems, and we look forward to providing this essential flight hardware to the program for years to come.
TAI developed numerous designs and fabricated dozens of straps for the ASTRO-H program, to be used in conjunction with vibration isolation systems developed by CSA-Moog, to provide a Thermally-conductive Vibration Isolation System (TCVIS) for the X-ray telescope.
"ASTRO-H is the sixth satellite in a series of highly successful X-ray astronomy missions initiated by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) of Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), and launched on February 12, 2016. The ASTRO-H mission, as described in detail in Takahashi et al. (2014), is equipped with four state of the art instruments providing the highest energy resolution ever achieved in the E = 3-10 keV band and covering a wide energy range, spanning four decades from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. The simultaneous broad bandpass coverage and high sensitivity, coupled with the high spectral resolution, will open an enormous new discovery space for a wide variety of objects. ASTRO-H is expected to provide breakthrough results in scientific areas as diverse as the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution, the behavior of matter in the gravitational strong field regime, the physical conditions in sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters." - JAXA
To Be Continued...
More Programs to come! We are eagerly awaiting the completion of Boeing's Commercial Crew Vehicle (CST), the launch of several European satellites, as well as NASA JPL's GRACE-FO satellite, all of which are scheduled for 2017.
Other Flight Heritage
While TAI has provided flight model/level (FM)---and follow-on FM---GFTS™ assemblies for satellites/space vehicles for a number of customers (such as Ball Aerospace, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin and NASA), it is difficult to obtain any information on strap performance once they are launched. Thermal straps are not instruments, and most customers tend to view these assemblies as "fasteners" or simple brackets (and do not/cannot share performance data after launch).
In 2017 & 2018, however, as several of the programs we've provided GFTS™ assemblies for launch, we will provide updates here, and in our Blog section of the website.