Sierra Space, one of the leading commercial space companies at the forefront of creating and building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, announced that the company has started the delivery of its proprietary, patented Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solar power systems.
Sierra Space’s innovative and groundbreaking solar arrays will supply the satellite industry with higher power densities, drastically reduced production times, and high reliability. Initial deliveries in 2022 include multiple lunar power systems, namely the recent NASA VIPER rover – which passed a major qualification with a thermal regime range of -235°C to +160°C – and the iSpace HAKUTO-R lander later this year. HAKUTO-R delivered more than 800 W on the first of several landers. In addition, Sierra Space has delivered multiple SMT solar panels for GEO and LEO missions with significant flight heritage on a 250 W spacecraft that continues to operate flawlessly for over a year in LEO orbit.
Sierra Space recognizes the significant demand resulting from the high-volume constellation market that requires an innovative way to manufacture space-qualified solar arrays at a much higher rate and lower cost. To support this rapidly emerging market, Sierra Space has developed an in-house, vertically integrated, surface mount production line that is capable of producing over five watts per minute. This new production line is already producing solar panels destined for the moon’s surface.
For future light-weight solar arrays, Sierra Space has developed SMT solar cells attached to a fully flexible Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and successfully rolled onto a four-inch diameter mandrel. This capability will enable automated production, higher power densities, and shorter lead times of flexible, deployable solar arrays for both small- and large-scale deployables; high-rate deliveries enable the lower cost to Sierra Space customers.
“The work Sierra Space does with designing, developing, and utilizing solar arrays has never been more important,” said Tom Crabb, SVP & GM Space Applications, Sierra Space. “We are making critical and crucial progress that enables effective, efficient, and cost-reducing measures to ensure that all Sierra Space missions, or missions that use our technology, will have the ability to harness reliable and higher density power on a wider scale.”
Through thousands of devices, on hundreds of missions, with one hundred percent on-orbit success, Sierra Space recently celebrated 35 years of supplying high-end, engineered subsystems and components for the space industry.
Click here to learn about Sierra Space Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solar cells.
Click here to learn about various patented solar array power systems.