First Mode/NASA Psyche Probe Enclosure
Space. Deep space optical communication (laser) aperture cover assembly.
Previous Limiting Technology
Previous structures were heavy aluminum constructions. By converting to a composite/metallic hybrid structure, the customer was able to save significant mass while retaining their preferred method of aperture cover deployment.
This optics enclosure is part of a probe that is operating at extremely high and low temperatures. By selecting a hybrid structure, the customer acquired certain operational benefits but took on extra complexity due to the inherent CTE variations between metallic and composite materials. This was further complicated by an extremely tight schedule.
Rock West provided an extremely fast flight hardware fabrication cycle for space hardware. This was supported in parallel by an extensive and advanced material testing effort to document material allowable properties.