The Overall Project Goal is To develop and test the following smart structures:
- piezo actuated “smart panels” for pointing of optical instruments/sensors
- piezo actuated “smart panels” for power harvesting
- fiber bragg gratings for composite structure strain and temperature measurement
- next generation of power conditioners for future applications in space missions.
European space objectives include Earth Observation to monitor the health of the planet and the impacts of human activities, which is increasingly important in this time of climate change and growing industrialisation, farming, mining, smuggling, terrorism, illegal immigration, etc. ln addition, Europe seeks to stay on the cutting edge of space technology, both for the intrinsic benefits that technology offers in space as well as the benefits generated by the introduction of next generation technologies into the broader economic base. The application of piezoelectric technology is rapidly growing in daily products as well as in the high-tech industry, due to the weight and volume savings that it offers, while maintaining a high level of accuracy. Piezoelectric technology can be used as actuator, sensor, and energy harvester. Despite the clear advantages, its application in the Space environment remains at a mostly conceptual level.
The technologies that will be developed in the PEASSS project directly enable European space observation and in-space activities. The project will create a cutting edge technology based on piezo actuated smart composite panels, which can improve the accuracy and stability of nearly all Earth Observation sensor platforms. As described below, the improved pointing accuracy and potential for reduction of mechanical noise stands to improve all types of observations, from environmental and planetary mapping to border and regional observation. Furthermore, the project will advance alternative power generation in space, which stands to enable distributed sensor networks and other next generation space technologies. ln addition, this new technology will help keep Europe on the cutting edge of space research, potentially improving the cost and development time for more accurate sensor platforms. Likewise, this new "smart structure" technology may provide positive economic impacts to other industries, such as its utilisation to reduce noise and related fatigue in future aircraft composites.