BIG BLUE II: Mars aircraft prototype with inflatable-rigidizable wings

Andrew Simpson, Jamey Jacob, Suzanne Smith, Osamah Rawashdeh, James Lumpp, William Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The present paper presents work on developing and flight testing a Mars prototype aircraft using inflatable-rigidizable wings under the NASA Workforce Development program. Undergraduate student teams have developed a test vehicle to determine the feasibility of using inflatable-rigidizable wings in extra-terrestrial missions. The wings are constructed of an outer composite layer impregnated with a UV curable resin and an inner inflatable bladder. The wings are stowed in the fuselage, deploy when inflated, and rigidize with exposure to UV radiation; pressurization is not required after rigidization. Vehicle, wing and avionics designs are discussed and results from low and high altitude test flights are presented. The project culminated in a successful high altitude flight test with deployment and rigidization of the wing under Mars like conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
StatePublished - 2005
Event43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit - Reno, NV, United States
Duration: Jan 10 2005Jan 13 2005


Conference43rd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityReno, NV

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


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