NASA tests flexible solar array on space station

NASA tests flexible solar array on space station
Washington: NASA is testing for the first time the effectiveness of a flexible solar array on space station that could one day power satellites and spacecraft.

The Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA, an advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure "can be easily adapted to different sizes, including very large arrays, to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft," NASA said.

It also has the potential to make solar arrays more compact and lighter weight for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on the Earth.

In addition, the technology conceivably could be adapted to provide solar power in remote locations.

NASA tested the ROSA technology in vacuum chambers on the Earth several years ago, but this is its first test in space.

Over the weekend of June 17-18, 2017, engineers on the ground remotely operated the International Space Station's robotic Canadarm2 to extract the Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) experiment from the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.

The experiment will remain attached to the Canadarm2 over seven days to test the effectiveness of ROSA, NASA said.

Traditional solar panels used to power satellites can be bulky with heavy panels folded together using mechanical hinges.

The new solar array design rolls up to form a compact cylinder for launch with significantly less mass and volume, potentially offering substantial cost savings as well as an increase in power for satellites.

"When launching into space, mass and volume are everything, and ROSA is 20 per cent lighter and four times smaller in volume than rigid panel arrays," explained principal investigator Jeremy Banik, senior research engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

"You realise big cost savings from shaving off a little mass and volume, which makes it possible to raise bandwidth on a communications satellite and, for example, make GPS more accessible and reliable for everyone," Banik said.

Smaller and lighter than traditional solar panels, ROSA consists of a centre wing made of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity.

On either side of the wing is a narrow arm that extends the length of the wing to provide support, called a high strain composite boom.

The booms are like split tubes made of a stiff composite material, flattened and rolled up lengthwise for launch.

The array rolls or snaps open without a motor, using stored energy from the structure of the booms that is released as each boom transitions from a coil shape to a straight support arm.

The technology of the booms has additional potential applications, such as for communications and radar antennas and other instruments, NASA said.

The ROSA investigation looks at how well this new type of solar panels deploys in the microgravity and extreme temperatures of space.

--IANS

gb/vt




NASA tests flexible solar array on space station- Related News

NASA tests flexible solar array on space station

    Updated On : Jun 21,2017   11:12 am
Washington, June 21 (IANS) NASA is testing for the first time the effectiveness of a flexible solar array on space station that could one day power satellites and spacecraft. View More..

Zero gravity can affect regenerative health of space travellers

    Updated On : Jun 10,2017   2:30 pm
New York, June 10 (IANS) Scientists studying flatworms that were part of a five-week experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS) have found that absence of normal gravity can affect anatomy, behaviour and microbiology, especially their ability to regenerate. View More..

Indian-American Raja Chari among 12 NASA astronaut candidates

    Updated On : Jun 08,2017   1:02 pm
Washington, June 8 (IANS) After screening a record 18,000 applications, the US space agency has finally picked 12 astronaut candidates -- its largest astronaut class since 2000 -- and Indian-American Raja Chari, a Lieutenant Colonel with the US Air Force, has bagged a most sought-after seat. View More..

Indian-American Raja Chari among 12 NASA astronaut candidates

    Updated On : Jun 08,2017   12:16 pm
Washington, June 8 (IANS) After screening a record 18,000 applications, the US space agency has finally picked 12 astronaut candidates -- its largest astronaut class since 2000 -- and Indian-American Raja Chari, a Lieutenant Colonel with the US Air Force, has bagged a most sought-after seat. View More..

Indian American selected among 12 NASA astronaut candidates

    Updated On : Jun 08,2017   10:22 am
Washington, June 8 (IANS) Indian American Raja Chari, a Lieutenant Colonel with the US Air Force, has been selected by space agency NASA among 12 astronaut candidates who will conduct research off the Earth for deep space missions. View More..

NASA to announce new astronauts on Wednesday

    Updated On : Jun 07,2017   1:40 pm
Washington, June 7 (IANS) NASA is set to announce its new class of astronaut candidates from the Johnson Space Centre in Houston on Wednesday, the space agency reported. View More..

China preparing for manned mission to Moon

    Updated On : Jun 07,2017   12:30 pm
Beijing, June 7 (IANS) China is making preliminary preparations to send a manned mission to the Moon, a space official said. View More..

SpaceX launches Chinese experiment, supplies to ISS

    Updated On : Jun 04,2017   5:52 am
Washington, June 4 (IANS) US space firm SpaceX on Saturday launched supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), including an experiment from a Chinese university that will test the effects of space environments on DNA. View More..

SpaceX's resupply mission to ISS on course for Saturday launch

    Updated On : Jun 04,2017   12:14 am
New York, June 4 (IANS) NASA has confirmed that SpaceX's Dragon cargo craft is on schedule for its launch on Saturday afternoon on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS). View More..

NASA to launch first-ever mission to study neutron stars

    Updated On : Jun 02,2017   1:58 pm
Washington, June 2 (IANS) NASA is set to launch the world's first mission devoted to studying rapidly spinning neutron stars, the densest objects in the universe. View More..

Poor weather halts SpaceX resupply mission to space station

    Updated On : Jun 02,2017   11:10 am
Washington, June 2 (IANS) The planned launch of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft for a commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station on Thursday was scrubbed due to poor weather, NASA has said. View More..

SpaceX Dragon set for next resupply mission to ISS

    Updated On : May 31,2017   11:46 am
Washington, May 31 (IANS) SpaceX is all set to launch the Dragon spacecraft for its 11th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on June 1. View More..

NASA astronauts gear up for emergency spacewalk on Tuesday

    Updated On : May 22,2017   11:02 am
Washington, May 22 (IANS) Two astronauts aboard the International Space Station will conduct an emergency spacewalk on Tuesday to replace a failed data relay box which is part of a system to control key station hardware, NASA has said. View More..

SpaceX Dragon to deliver crew supplies, research to ISS

    Updated On : May 20,2017   1:30 pm
Washington, May 20 (IANS) SpaceX will launch its Dragon spacecraft for its 11th commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station (ISS) from NASA's Kennedy Space Centre on June 1. View More..

US astronauts conduct 200th spacewalk

    Updated On : May 13,2017   10:10 am
Washington, May 13 (IANS) Two American astronauts on Friday carried out the 200th spacewalk at the International Space Station (ISS) despite an early equipment glitch that had delayed and shortened the mission. View More..

Space travel may reduce astronauts' exercise capacity

    Updated On : May 10,2017   1:54 pm
New York, May 10 (IANS) Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) or those on long duration space flights, such as journeys to Mars or deep space are likely to have a 30 and 50 per cent decline in exercise capacity because of a decrease in the way oxygen moves through the body, say researchers. View More..

Nearby planetary system is similar to our own: Study

    Updated On : May 03,2017   2:52 pm
Washington, May 3 (IANS) A nearby planetary system star could be a good model of our early solar system as it has an architecture remarkably similar to that of our own, astronomers have confirmed. View More..

China to conduct several manned space flights around 2020

    Updated On : Apr 28,2017   7:20 pm
Beijing, April 28 (IANS) China plans to conduct several manned space flights between 2019 and 2022, during which a 60-tonne space station will be assembled and built, an official said on Friday. View More..

NASA may face space suit crunch: Report

    Updated On : Apr 28,2017   6:34 pm
Washington, April 28 (IANS) NASA appears to be ill prepared to have a new space suit ready for future deep-space missions, media reported citing the space agency's auditor report. View More..

Trump makes special call to US astronaut Peggy Whitson

    Updated On : Apr 25,2017   12:54 am
Washington, April 25 (IANS) US President Donald Trump made a special Earth-to-space call to congratulate NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson for her record-breaking stay aboard the International Space Station. View More..