August 15, 2018

Booms

Any spacecraft contains electronic devices that generate electromagnetic fields. If a spacecraft is carrying magnetometers and other sensors for detecting fields in space, how can you ensure that the sensors don’t pick up readings from the fields generated by the spacecraft itself? You need a boom. Booms are long, slender structures that extend outward into space, allowing sensors to be placed at a distance from the spacecraft. A boom has to be strong, but very lightweight. Adding to the technical challenge, a boom can’t be launched into space already extended: once in space, it has to unfold itself or telescope outward. SSL engineers have designed booms for deployment in some of the toughest conditions in space, including a XX-foot boom to withstand conditions in the solar corona.