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Developing an Inflatable Solar Array

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LGarde is developing a light weight deployable solar array wing in the 200-1000 watt range, on the Inflatable Torus Solar Array Technology Demonstration ITSAT Demo Project. The power density goal is 90-100 WKg for a 200 W wing, including structure and deployment mechanisms. In Phase 1, a proof of concept torus and array was constructed and deployed in the laboratory. A revised Phase 2 Torus and Array are now being fabricated. Phase 3 will be a space flight test. The current design uses crystalline Si cells on an A0 protected flexible Kapton film substrate folded accordion style for stowage. The support structure is a rectangular frame comprised of two inflated cylinders, the array stowage box and its cover. The cylinders, flattened, folded and stored for launch, are deployed inflating with N2 and rigidized by straining the cylinder laminate material controllably beyond the elastic limit. This array is designed for optimum power density but, due to availability, some of the components come from excess production runs. Because of this, the actual power density of the engineering prototype will be about 15 less than the baseline program array, which uses 2.2 mil crystalline silicon cells, 4 in diameter inflatable tubes, and a 41 aspect ratio. This project is funded by ARPA with technical management oversight by the Phillips Laboratory.

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  • Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices
  • Electric Power Production and Distribution
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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