A Novel, Light Weight Solar Array: Comparison with Conventional Systems
L'GARDE INC TUSTIN CA
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A novel, lightweight solar panel design is described that incorporates the best features from three separate areas of development 1 advanced solar cells 2 light weight, flexible blanket technology and 3 deployment by inflation. In this study, inflation-deployed panels of various powers incorporating four different types of low mass solar cells are investigated with respect to conventional systems. Depending on panel size and cell type, five-fold and three-fold improvements in specific powers Wkg can be realized compared to present state-of-the-art rigid and flexible systems, respectively. There are numerous advantages to such an inflatable deployment system. Besides lower weight and increased power, the technique is low in cost and reliable. The system has a minimum of complex parts and stows efficiently. Most importantly, both concept and materials have been proven in space. In this study, systems in the 0.3 to 5.0 kW range combining the best elements of cell, blanket, and deployment technologies are designed and analyzed for both low earth LEO and geosynchronous GEO environments. Results in terms of specific power are compared to flexible arrays involving BI-STEM and astromast deployment as well as to a typical rigid panel, latch, and spring deployed, such as DSCS III.
- Electric Power Production and Distribution