Good morning everyone,

I am working on a project for my university where we need to perform a PrePhase A study for a Mars Infrastructure for Propellant production as a means of support for future missions.

Summarizing, the power requirements for the propellant production are 10.1 kW (constantly during day and night). I am trying to size the Solar Array with the following model for the Solar Flux.


When dimensioning the Solar Array, I am using this basic formula:


Then, I integrate the power of the Array during all day and make sure that the total energy [Wh] produced is equal to the total energy required [10.1 kW * 24.65h]. If the power required is higher than the Solar Array power, batteries will be in charge of providing it.

What I am missing right now is a value for the weight of a solar panel. I currently have in mind 2 models:

  1. UltraFlex Solar Array
  2. Azur Space Triple Junction Solar Cell 3G30C-Advanced

Apparently the first one offers a better weight performance, while the second one has a better efficiency. However, I cannot find a value for the weight per square meter of both models.

Would you have any information on that or do you have any input on usual weight of space solar panels as a function of panel surface?

Also, what is your critisicm on my sizing procedure? This is the first time doing this, so I am not sure if I am following the right process.

Thank you very much.

  • $\begingroup$ what research have you done? orbitalatk.com/space-systems/space-components/solar-arrays/docs/… suggests 150W/kg at beggining of life $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 9 '18 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, but under what conditions are those 150W/kg. Do they provide the same power output with independence of solar conditions? Solar Flux on Earth is about 1360 W/m2, whereas for Mars is less than half of that value. Sorry for the ignorance, but I don't know many things about solar energy, so I don't know what it means when they specify 150W/kg. $\endgroup$ – Roger Pedrós Bòria Apr 9 '18 at 8:36
  • $\begingroup$ is this not answered in ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/19890018252.pdf $\endgroup$ – user20636 Apr 9 '18 at 8:45
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    $\begingroup$ +1 This is a model first question for a new user. What I see is the time and effort taken to explain the problem, to outline the OP's current level of understanding of the topic, to then outline the steps already taken by the OP, and then to ask specific, well-defined questions and to invite comment on ways to improve the approach. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 10 '18 at 2:14
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    $\begingroup$ @RogerPedrósBòria I'll take a look in the next day or so, thanks for the ping! $\endgroup$ – uhoh Apr 23 '18 at 14:48

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