Early renderings of the Mars Colonial Transport showed 2 fan shaped solar arrays deployed while in space. I haven seen any depictions of the StarShip with a solar array either in orbit or standing on a planetary surface.

What is SpaceX planning to do for electrical power StarShip on long missions?

  • $\begingroup$ A solar array is probably fine while in space, but to do anything significant on Mars, they're going to need kilopower or the equivalent. $\endgroup$ Oct 30, 2019 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ I think this question can't be answered right now. Starships have been equiped with deployable solar panels in multiple official renderings released by SpaceX but outside of the propulsion system and general vehicle capabilities, very little is known about starship (due to it either being secret or SpaceX themselves not decided yet). SpaceX in general makes many decisions quickly and changes designs frequently too. What may be the answer today, might change next week. $\endgroup$
    – Dragongeek
    Oct 30, 2019 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ Kilowatt power, space-grade, solar arrays? Not a problem. See this: northropgrumman.com/Capabilities/SolarArrays/Documents/… Up to 300kw. $\endgroup$
    – BlueCoder
    Nov 1, 2019 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ Yes I thought of Kilowatt power. I just don't know how easy it might be for a private company to get nuclear material. But obviously if they are trying to designate this a generic solar system transport they would need a solution for the outer planets. One could imagine waste heat radiating through the steel skin. $\endgroup$ Nov 1, 2019 at 3:21
  • $\begingroup$ As for deployable solar panels, there would have to be a considerable amount of space within the vessel for when they are stowed inside for take off or reentry. I would expect it to turn up in the diagrams sooner or later. As per their reusable design philosophy, the arrays would not only have to deploy, but also fold back up. Makes me wonder if a solar array in space has ever been refolded. $\endgroup$ Nov 1, 2019 at 3:25

1 Answer 1


Earlier renders of StarShip (BFR) Display solar 'wings' BFR solar array

Final configuration / design will not be settled on for some time. Suffice to say solar panels will definitely required and there are multiple configuration possibilities. Body wrapped panels alone will not be adequate, some type of movable 'winged' arrangement will be required.


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