History

Deployable Structures for Space Applications

100 % On-Orbit Deployment Success


Satellite and Earth

Astro Aerospace is noted for its deployable hardware products and the 100% success rate deploying those products on-orbit. We began in 1958 as Astro Research Corporation in Santa Barbara, California, formed by Swiss born scientist, Dr. Hans Schuerch. Initially, Astro developed advanced concepts for applications space stations, filament-wound structures, and heliogyro structures.

Satellite size comparison

In 1964, research in the area of high-strength filament structures led to a major contract to develop a large low frequency orbiting filament antenna telescope in with a one-mile diameter. During its development, Astro conceived and built a central compression column, later called the AstroMast™, which has become one of Astro's best-known products.

Astro Aerospace

In 1972, Astro Research was acquired by Canada's Spar Aerospace Limited, becoming Astro Aerospace and moved to Carpinteria, California. Astro's emphasis was shifting from research to the design and fabrication of hardware with a focus on deployable structures. As part of the acquisition Spar transferred its Storable Tubular Extendable Member (STEM™) technology to Astro, augmenting Astro's growing family of deployable flight hardware.


Space Station

In the Mid-1980s Astro was selected as part of the Space Station Freedom industry team to build the Mobile Transporter (MT). At that time the MT was envisioned as a deployable robotic vehicle that literally crawled along the Space Station truss carrying the Canadian supplied manipulator (Canadarm2) on its back to the various Station work sites. As the program evolved from Space Station Freedom to the International Space Station the MT evolved as well, performing essentially the same task, but now rolling on tracks along the length of the Space Station. The MT, sometimes know as the "Space Station Train" was launched on Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-110) in 2002 and has been in continuous operation on since then.

Satellite AstroMesh

Astro added large deployable "Perimeter Truss" mesh reflectors (AstroMesh™) to its portfolio in the mid-1990s. This breakthrough technology has enabled the commercial satellite market to reliably utilize large aperture reflectors at low risk of deployment failure. Since then Astro has expanded the AstroMesh™ family to cover deployed diameters from 3 to 50-meters and at frequencies from UHF to Ka-Band. As part of the Inmarsat 4 craft team Astro was awarded the 2006 Silver Medal by the Royal Aeronautical Society for its AstroMesh™ contribution to the program

In 1999, Astro Aerospace became a wholly owned subsidiary of TRW Inc. followed in 2002, by the merger of TRW and Northrop Grumman with Astro becoming a Strategic Business Unit of Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.

Satellite in Orbit

Throughout its history Astro's hardware has flown on hundreds of mission with literally thousands of on-orbit deployments without a single deployment failure. We have hardware on Mars, orbiting the Earth, the Moon and Mars. And we have STEM™ products on both Voyager craft which have recently left our solar system. Our attention to detail, thorough design and analysis processes, assures robust deployment kinematics, providing our customers with hardware that can be counted on to deploy in every time. Our 100% on-orbit deployment success record is Astro's proudest achievement.