A conversation at last year's Small Satellite Conference in Utah led to the Strategic Partnerships Office (SPO) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, signing a non-exclusive license agreement with Thermal Management Technologies (TMT) of North Logan, Utah.
The patented technology — Diminutive Assembly for Nanosatellite deploYables (DANY) — provides a reliable mechanism to secure deployable elements of a smallsat, safely stowing them until receiving a signal to burn through a plastic restraining link and release them for use in space. Deployable elements on a smallsat can include solar arrays, sun shades, radiators or antennas. The entire assembly is about the size of a credit card, making it ideal for small satellites that have significant space constraints.
The agreement allows TMT to use the technology, developed at NASA Goddard for the Dellingr mission, as the core of TMT's "Gecko Release Mechanism," named after the device's gecko-like size and ability to grip tightly onto a spacecraft.
TMT specializes in custom thermal and mechanical products, including spacecraft hardware and systems.
Smallsats typically have a mass of less than 180 kilograms, and they play a growing role at NASA for science missions and technology demonstrations.
Scott Schick, Director of Engineering at TMT said there was a conversation about a couple of NASA technologies that complemented some small satellite structures TMT is developing — he became interested in learning more about one technology in particular and was impressed with the research and development progress made by the company to date. As a small business, this was the firm's first experience licensing a NASA technology, but the result have been terrific. He added that DANY, a thermal-based technology, fits well into the company's niche, matching the company's overall objective to provide small spacecraft with high-reliability thermal control components.
Eric McGill, a technology manager in Goddard's SPO said that SPO and DANY's inventors — Luis Santos, Scott Hesh and John Hudeck — are excited to see the technology made available to the commercial space community through this license agreement with TMT.
To learn more about Thermal Management Technologies, please visit: http://www.tmt-ipe.com
For more information on Goddard's Strategic Partnerships Office, please visit: https://partnerships.gsfc.nasa.gov/index.html