NASA to Test Flexible, Rollable Solar Panels for Powering Satellites

Published By : 22 Jun 2017 | Published By : QYRESEARCH

NASA is all set to test a new flexible variety of solar panel, which rolls up and forms a compact cylinder, on the International Space Station. These solar panels are projected to offer significant cost savings and lead to a substantial rise in power for satellites in the near future. Conventional solar panels used to provide power to satellites are mostly bulky, with mechanical hinges used to fold heavy solar panels together.

The Roll-Out Solar Array (ROSA) tested for potential use by the space agency on the International Space Station, is reportedly much lighter and smaller than conventional solar panels used to power satellites. It has a centre wing that has been crafted from a flexible material containing PV cells. The wing has a narrow arm on either sides, called a high strain composite boom, to extend the wing’s length and provide it additional support.

Rolled up lengthwise during launch, the array rolls up or opens up without the help of a motor, using instead a source of stored energy from the booms. ROSA can also easily adapt to a number of different sizes, such as very large arrays, to fit in the requirements of a variety of spacecraft in the near future.

The new technology could also help make solar arrays lighter and more compact as compared to conventional solar panels for televisions and satellite radios, GPS, weather forecasting, and a number of other satellite services used on the planet. Moreover, ROSA could also be adapted to make solar power available in remote locations.

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