Modular mast system for commercial space applications

Deployable, ultra-light space structure systems as a basis for power generation, communications, measurements, optical inspections or for space debris prevention in the context of ‘New Space’ – the modular SpaceMast system offers new possibilities for creating large functional areas and lengths for future spacecraft. At ILA 2022, DLR is showcasing a functional SpaceMast equipped with a camera as a prototype for the modular system that has been developed.

Compact when rolled up, ultra-light and capable of deploying large functional areas

The SpaceMast system consists of tubular, extendable and rollable lightweight masts made of extremely thin-walled carbon fibre-reinforced composites and the mechanisms essential for controlled deployment. These channel the strong self-deployment forces and connect the mast to the satellite in a stable manner. The mast system has numerous applications. For example, it can be used to carry instruments, solar arrays or solar and drag sails on spacecraft or space stations such as the ISS. Rolled up so they occupy a small volume for launch, they are deployed to their intended size in space.

Modular and versatile for use in ‘New Space’ and research

Through a modular design principle, the SpaceMast system follows the current trend towards the cost-effective use of space. Individually customisable systems are particularly in demand for satellites operating in the fields of communications, Earth observation and navigation. Depending on the application, one to four identical mast modules can be attached to a central module containing the drive mechanism and assembled into a single unit. The size, length and arrangement of the masts can also be adapted to the specific application.


German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems
Dr. Martin Zander · Email