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Bellows Research and Product Development
Optical System Shielding
Exoatmospheric Defense | Weather Tracking | Military Intel | Earth Mapping

Flexial's extendable bellows sunshade is designed for space compression. Satellites, spacecraft and missiles face the same two problems: weight and space. A sunshade is non-functional bulk that reduces precious spacecraft volume. Flexial has developed a titanium welded bellows sunshade that stows in less than 1/10th its deployed length. Its natural spring force makes it self-deploying. It is custom engineered to any size from 0.25 to 24.0 inches in diameter. It locks permanently and reliably and will resist 10gs lateral load and remain out of the optical LOS. The locking mechanism cup strap will flex, like a tape measure, for stowing in tight spaces. Flexial has considerable experience with this proven technology and now offers a greatly improved titanium version with greater deployed stiffness and higher stowed flexibility.

Space Compression

The stowed sunshade allows positioning the satellite further into the nose when designed on-axis, or tucks clear of the rocket wall when transverse-mounted. The cup straps that lock the sunshade when extended are highly flexible when collapsed to fit very small spaces. They need not be positioned symmetrically to take advantage of available pockets of space.

Bellows Sunshade Advantages
Compact and lightweight
Generally comparable for weight with a sintered and machined beryllium sunshade and stows to less than 1/10th its extended length. Can free up far in excess of its own volume through clever design.
Deploys by its own spring force. The bellows negative spring rate becomes stiffer when deployed than stowed. Can remain stowed for years without metal creep for reliable deployment.
Self-deploys reliably under extreme conditions of temperature, vibration and shock
No sliding or rotating parts or joints, deploys the same as a released spring. Locking cup straps also unfold like released springs to help deployment. Insensitive to vibration, shock or temperature during deployment.
Completely solid, hermetic construction
Can serve secondary role as hermetic cover for optics when stowed. Completely non-porous bellows with leak rate 1x10-10 std cc/sec helium (used in ultrahigh vacuum systems) will hold high vacuum for decades.
No outgassing under all storage conditions
Can be degassed prior to installation as in UHV systems. No elastomerics; will not outgas or contribute any type of contaminant to optical mirrors and sensors.
Convolutions act as light traps
Bellows convolutions act as traps or light baffles for light entering the front of the sunshade at high incidence. Bellows sunshades do not require internal coatings to reduce reflectivity.
Highly inert, corrosion resistant, non-toxic
Heat treated titanium bellows is resistant to virtually all chemicals and gasses. Unlike beryllium sunshades, titanium is also ultra-low toxicity (used in medical implants). Cup straps are heat treated Inconel 718- extremely high strength and excellent corrosion resistance.
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Flexial bellows to have multiple roles on next generation spacecraft, the Boeing CST-100 blank
Flexial Corporation Featured in NASA SLS (Space Launch Systems) Highlights Publication. blank
Flexial Corporation is a member of the BOA Group Flexial Corporation is a member of the BOA Group

Flexial Corporation is a member of the Stutensee, Germany based BOA Group, and is the 2nd largest broad spectrum manufacturer of welded metal bellows and related products in the United States.

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