Boeing to provide six more solar arrays for ISS
Posted on 19 Jan 2021 and read 745 times
will support the International Space Station’s (ISS) growing research capabilities and commercial opportunities with new solar arrays that will increase the orbiting laboratory’s power supply. The modification to Boeing’s ISS ‘sustainment contract’ with NASA calls for Boeing to deliver six additional solar arrays to NASA for installation beginning in 2021.
The new 19 x 6m arrays will together produce more than 120kW of electricity from the sun’s energy (enough to power more than 40 average US homes). Combined with the eight original, larger arrays, this advanced hardware will provide a 20-30% increase in power, helping to maximise the station’s capabilities for years to come.
The arrays will provide ISS with electricity to sustain its systems and equipment, plus augment the electricity available to continue a wide variety of public and private experiments and research in the station’s microgravity environment.
John Mulholland, ISS’s vice president and programme manager for Boeing, said: “When it comes to game-changing research and technological development, the space station is currently hitting its full stride.
These arrays, along with other recent upgrades to the station’s power system and data-transfer speed, will ensure that ISS remains an incubator and business model in the commercial space ecosystem for the coming decades. Access to this unique lab will continue to pay off as researchers study the challenges of future deep-space exploration and make discoveries that improve life on Earth.”
Deployable Space Systems of Santa Barbara, California, will produce the structure of the new arrays, including the canister and frame that will unfurl to hold the solar-array blankets in place. The company also built the canister, frame and solar array blanket for a prototype of the new arrays that was successfully tested aboard the ISS in June 2017.
Spectrolab, a Boeing company based in Sylmar, California, produces the arrays’ XTJ Prime solar cells, which will be some of the most powerful ever launched into space.