For most space mission it is important to deploy structures like solar arrays or antennas in space after launch. For the launch, these structures need to be securely stowed and fixed on the satellite. This is usually accomplished by using so called hold-down and release mechanisms (HDRM).
CREAM is a collet hold-down and release mechanism is based on shape memory alloy material and standard commercial machine parts as core element for fastener locking.
The main features of CREAM in their combination make this HDRM a valuable space component and complementary to other available HDRMs. The self-resetting technology allows that operators do not need to touch the actuator for reset. Just by powering the mechanism the release bolt can be reset. This allows permanent installation of the HDRM within a satellite structure during the complete integration, verification and testing process. The bolt locking technology shows a Low-Shock actuation characteristic and thereby saves adjacent components on the space system. It features a high release force-to-volume ratio and a high release force-to-weight ratio and thereby enables low mass solutions for hold-down and release. By using standard commercial parts and due to the self-resetting feature of the mechanism low costs for procurement and for operation can be realized compared to other commercial solutions.