Available Technology

Collapsible Towers

NASA needed a means of orbiting a large radio telescope antenna. Astro Research Corporation developed a new structure that was strong, lightweight, folded into a small storage space, and could be erected by rotation. Later they adapted it to commercial use. Today the Astromast" tower consists of tubular aluminum alloy and stainless steel members that deploy into small three-sided bays each made rigid by six diagonal cables. All joints are flexible to permit folding and unfolding. Tower packs into container 5% of its height can be erected without tools and is reusable. Tower has won "Design of the Year" award from Machine Design. Variations include portable emergency bridges and commercial scaffolding."
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