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Game Changing Development

Concentrator Solar Power Systems for LILT and High Radiation Game Changing Technology Development

Completed Technology Project
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Project Description

Concentrator Solar Power Systems for LILT and High Radiation Game Changing Technology Development
Solar concentration can effectively mitigate the harmful effects of low intensity, low temperature (LILT), and high radiation on solar cell and solar array performance, providing significant performance gains to solar power spacecraft typical of critical upcoming deep space missions. Concentration improves solar cell conversion efficiency in extreme LILT environments by boosting the current levels and voltage. And the smaller cell area needed under concentration allows the use of thicker coverglass to better protect the cells from radiation without the excessive mass incurred for equivalent shielding of non-concentrated, much larger-area solar cells. Given that solar cells are the majority of cost for the power systems, concentration will lower system cost while improving mass performance. The Orbital ATK proposal, titled “Concentrator Solar Power Systems for LILT and High Radiation Game Changing Technology Development”, intends to assess different solar concentrator technologies, including the Orbital ATK Fresnel lens SCARLET concentrator flown on NASA's Deep Space 1 mission. We will evaluate the different concentrator technologies for integration on our latest-technology blanket solar array platforms including our round UltraFlex/MegaFlex platform, and also potentially on other promising blanket-type array platforms which would be a traditional rectangular-shape. We will perform detailed analysis to evaluate various concentrator technologies for LILT and high radiation, perform packaging studies to assess integration of the concentrator modules on both round and rectangular high-performance blanket arrays. We will be working closely with our key suppliers to develop our proposed deep space concentrator design. Optional follow-on work would allow for detailed design and fabrication of higher-TRL hardware and testing, with the goal of obtaining TRL 6 for at least one concentrator system. Once validated at TRL-6, Orbital ATK's concentrator system will be ready for use on a high-performance solar array which could be used to power a spacecraft into the extreme environments of deep space, such as the environs of Jupiter, Saturn, and the Trojan asteroids. More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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