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SBIR/STTR

MegaFlex Solar Array Scale-Up, up to 175kW per Wing, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

MegaFlex Solar Array Scale-Up, up to 175kW per Wing, Phase I
NASA has near-term needs for solar electric propulsion (SEP) power sources from 5 to 30 kW and longer term goals for SEP tugs as large as 300 kW and beyond. UltraFlex is a high-TRL solar array technology that spans the initial range of power levels with as-yet unmatched performance in specific power, stiffness, and strength. This technology has been to Mars, and is under development for the NASA Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) and the Cygnus ISS supply vehicle by Orbital Sciences. MegaFlex is UltraFlex technology, with two enhancements to allow a 2-wing configuration to provide power levels up to 350 kW with near-term cell efficiencies. This technology meets SEP development needs for true scalability and allows for complete ground test and validation of the entire wing in existing facilities. Given the compaction capabilities, MegaFlex is an enabling technology for any mission where the power needed is more than the stowage volume allows with standard technologies. MegaFlex technology would also benefit lower power missions where higher compaction would allow use of a smaller, and less expensive, launch vehicle. MegaFlex achieves similar performance characteristics as UltraFlex with specific power up to 200 W/kg (versus 30-70 W/kg) and also higher stiffness (>3x) and strength (>5x) than conventional arrays. More »

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