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Next Generation Extremely Large Solar Array System for NASA Exploration Missions, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The proposed technology is a revolutionary solar array advancement that relies on a structurally optimized platform to provide unparalleled specific-performance and affordability for extremely large area solar arrays. The proposed technology is comprised of a central beam tensioned membrane architecture that leverages key heritage technology elements to provide low-risk and high end-user acceptance. The proposed technology will enable emerging Solar Electric Propulsion Space Science and Exploration missions through ultra-affordability, ultra-lightweight, ultra-compact stowage volume, design simplicity, robustness and high damage tolerance, broad scalability, high strength/stiffness, high voltage and high/low temperature operation capability within many environments. Once completely optimized through the proposed SBIR program the proposed technology promises to provide NASA/industry a near-term and low-risk solar array system that provides revolutionary performance in terms of high specific power (>300 up to 500 W/kg BOL at the wing level, PV-blanket dependent), affordability (up to 40% cost savings at the array level, PV-blanket dependent), ultra-lightweight, high deployed stiffness (10X better than current arrays), high deployed strength (10X better than current arrays), compact stowage volume (>70-80 kW/m3 BOL, 10X times better than current arrays), high reliability, high radiation tolerance, high voltage operation capability (>200 VDC), scalability (500W to 100's of kW), and LILT/HIHT operation. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas