Shape memory polymers (SMP) and composites (SMPC) may be used for many applications in Space, from self-deployable structures (such as solar sails, panels, shields, booms and antennas), to grabbing systems for Space debris removal, up to new-concept actuators for telescope mirror tuning. Experiments on the International Space Station are necessary for testing prototypes in relevant environment, above all for the absence of gravity which affects deployment of slender structures but also to evaluate the aging effects of the Space environment. In fact, several aging mechanisms are possible, from polymer cracking to cross-linking and erosion, and different behaviors are expected as well, from consolidating the temporary shape to composite degradation. Evaluating the possibility of shape recovery because of sun exposure is another interesting point. In this study, a possible experiment on the ISS is shown with the aim of evaluating the aging effect of Space on material performances. The sample structure is described as well as the testing strategy.

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