NASA to send Israeli solar-power generator to ISS

11 Novembre, 2019, 20:40 | Auteur: Therese Cote

An Israeli developed prototype solar-power generator will be sent by the USA space agency NASA to the International Space Station, Ben Gurion University (BGU) in southern Israel announced on Monday.

This first-generation prototype is less than 1.7 millimeters thick, with solar cells only 0.65 millimeters on a side, according to BGU.

They said the first-generation prototype - now in production at U.S. naval research labs - was 1.7mm thick, but the second generation is only 0.17 mm thick.

The prototype includes a compact, low-mass, moulded-glass solar concentrator, which is bonded with monolithic integration of transfer-printed micro-scale solar cells.

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Notably, the generator has been proven to supply unprecedented particular energy whereas having a liberal optical tolerance in relation to accommodating errors: significantly, errors from pointing on the Sun, structural vibration, and thermal distortion. One sheet of paper has a thickness of 0.1mm.

The prototype will be sent to the International Space Station on NASA's first launch of 2020 in order to properly test it in space, taking into account the effects of cosmic radiation and extreme temperature shifts. Following testing of of the generator's integrity and robustness under space conditions, future models will be utilized by space agencies for the sake of missions requiring high power for electric propulsion, as well as for operating deep space missions. While private space corporations have reduced launch costs, solar-power generators now represent a much larger portion of total system cost.

The new generator offers a major step forward for private commercial space missions, as the private space market is a rapidly growing billion-dollar industry with dozens of corporate players, according to the university.

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