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Questions tagged [solar-power]

Questions on obtaining electrical energy from the light of the Sun through either direct photovoltaic conversion or thermal conversion.

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Why did Salyut 7 go completely dead when its solar-array-pointing system failed?

According to Wikipedia, when Salyut 7's solar-array-pointing system failed in 1985, its batteries were rendered unable to charge, and the station almost immediately went completely dead: The first ...
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What are the ISS's eight “power channels”? How do they work?

c|net's NASA troubleshoots mysterious ISS power issue links to the NASA Blog post Crew Waits for Dragon Mission While Teams Troubleshoot Power Issue which says: Monday morning, teams identified an ...
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Could a solar panel be modified to also collect a static charge on Mars?

I was waiting for someone to piece both of these questions together into another question. @Dragongeek was the first, Could a solar panel be modified to create a static charge while spinning to remove ...
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Fast spining solar cells to clear Martian dust possible?

I've seen a fast spinning glass wheel used in front of a camera to clear away water, dust or ice. Could Solar panels be made circular and spin to clear dust off of them in the same way may? As ...
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Why do the two Apollo 11 PSEP solar panels appear to have different backing materials?

The PSEP (Passive Seismic Experiment Package) was powered by a pair of solar panels mounted on extended arms. The one on the left (when looking towards the LEM) appears to have a matt grey backing: ...
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28V vs. 124V on the ISS

Apparently the US segment of the ISS runs on 124v DC, while the Russian segment is on 28v DC. Why the difference? I understand it is often safer to have several different voltages rather than one, but ...
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Why latest Landsat satellites have solar panel on only one side?

It is normal for satellites to have solar panels on both sides of the body. But Landsat satellites, from Landsat 4, seems to have the solar panel on only one side. Are there any specific advantages ...
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Why are the big solar panels on the ISS orientated away from the Sun? [duplicate]

While looking at this picture below from another question I notice all the panels are not facing the Sun. Why is that?
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Why did Deep Space 1 use solar concentrators?

@Hobbes' answer mentions that Deep Space 1 used special refractive solar concentrators attached to photovoltaic cells. According to SCARLET: The innovative array uses 720 lenses to focus sunlight ...
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Has direct bandgap photoemission from III-V solar panels on spacecraft ever been detected or reported?

I thought I had asked this question before, but I can't find it now so I will ask here. I have asked a related question in Physics SE: Do III-V based photovoltaics “glow” (photo-luminesce) when ...
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106 views

Why satellite’s solar panel wattage is often listed in specifications?

What is the purpose of listing the power output (Wattage) from solar panel, without the energy/power specification of batteries or other electrical storage devices? Do satellites often use the power ...
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What is InSight's one-sol energy budget like on a good day?

I am worried about InSight's solar panels getting covered in dust: Why do InSight's solar panels have tall vertical ridges between segments - will these trap dust? Help me to sleep better. What would ...
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Brushing clean a Mars lander's solar panels

A comment by SF. regarding the InSight Mars lander caught my attention: I really, really wonder why they didn't just include a small compartment with a duster brush grippable by the robotic arm. ...
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Could dusters be installed on solar panels on a mars lander? [duplicate]

I see on the interwebs that the lander Insight is about to land on Mars and the NASA PR describes the solar panels as producing 600-700W now and 200-300W when covered in dust. Is there any reason why ...
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What are the tradeoffs of circularly unfurling solar panel over linearly deploying solar panels?

Martian landers like Phoenix and Insight uses circularly unfurling solar panels. The regular satellites make use of linearly unfurling panels. What are the primary reasons why linear unfurling ...
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Does a solar geometry library exist for satellites in LEO?

I'm looking for a solar geometry library built for a cubesat in LEO. In my research so far, I've discovered the MINES Paris-Tech Solar Geometry 2 library (http://www.oie.mines-paristech.fr/...
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Could the International Space Station be fitted with solar sails?

How much solar sail and vane surface area would be needed to replace the boosts needed to keep the ISS in orbit? Could this be done at a higher orbit minimizing atmospheric drag? What is the closest ...
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Why the MASCOT lander has no solar panels?

The MASCOT lander carried on Hayabusa2 just landed on Ryugu, completed it's mission and finshed operation as it has a non-rechargeable battery and no means to generate power. See this answer for more ...
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Can a satellite utilize gravity gradient stabilization, solar power, electrodynamic tethering and dynamic quadrupole momentum at once?

Have any analysis been done using 2 or more devises above to function as a satellite where 1 alone would not to maintain orbit without propellants? Will this system or one with a different ...
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Would a lower LEO ISS orbit really have a shorter eclipse duration than a higher one?

This comment says Lower orbit also mean shorter ones; for observations (one of the ISS missions) it is an advantage. It also have shorter night times (ie smaller batteries).. and the likely ...
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What technology assistance did NASA give to hikers to the South Pole using renewables-only?

The CBS News article Expedition Antarctica: A father and son's journey to save the planet says (in part): The success of the expedition necessitated the pioneering of new equipment that would use ...
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What is a typical satellite solar panel mass?

Does anyone know a reliable source to find the mass of solar panels on satellites (in particular GEO satellites)? I know they will vary but I am struggling to even find one data point let alone a ...
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Hows does “Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator” work?

Clicking through NASA.spinoff.gov I came to the page for spinnoff 2001 Glenn Research Center and found this: Glenn Research Center's sapphire refractive secondary concentrator will be used with ...
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What effects does atmosphere have on solar panels?

For the purpose of this question I do not want to focus simply on the fact that there will be less "night time" for the panels while in orbit/outside the atmosphere of a planet. What I'd like to ...
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Why not a landing platform with solar cells on the Mars 2020 rover for the helicopter scout?

In May 2018 the Mars Helicopter Scout (MHS) was approved to fly on the Mars 2020 mission. Author: NASA/JPL-Caltec. It's a solar powered helicopter drone with a mass of 1.8 kg and a coaxial rotor ...
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Have inflatable solar arrays ever been used in practice?

Was trying to find some "experimental" solar panel designs, and came across a rather fascinating design idea, inflatable solar panels. I feel like something this compact would work stupendously for a ...
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Can a solar sail be added to an ion engine and work better?

Has there been a concept vehicle that uses both solar sails and ion engines? Does the added mass of each system increase or reduce the spacecrafts total delta V capabilities? Inspired by S.F. As S.F....
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1answer
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Why are the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) satellite's solar panels angled so strangely?

The Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (or GPM) spacecraft (1, 2) has two solar array panels. They extend from opposite sides and one is tilted with respect to the other. This is a slightly ...
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Feasible to use lasers / concentrated light to power solar cells in our solar system?

I was watching a video on Youtube which criticized Elon Musk's idea to use solar power to power the space craft at long distances from the sun such as Saturn. That got me thinking whether it would be ...
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213 views

Can orbital maneuvers be performed by a solar sail to correct eccentricity?

This unique model would spend very little time in Earth's shadow and eccentricity correction is performed on every pass. Can the angle of the hard flat solar sail or one big solar vane maintain an ...
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Can a satellite work like a radiometer?

Like a Crookes Radiometer, could a satellite have a stiff vain to maneuver? With a white side to let light pass and the black side capture light radiation be enough provide radiation pressure to keep ...
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Solar Flux on Mars Surface

Considering that the Solar Flux on top of Mars' atmosphere is 590 W/m2 (following the 1/r^2 relation for sunlight), how much of this incident light actually arrives to Mars. In other words, what is ...
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Low energy cements for Mars and Callisto. Waterless cement for the Moon. Any good candidates?

In the non-polar regions of the Moon and Mercury there is a shortage of volatiles, including hydrogen and nitrogen, so they might be regaded as too valuable to be "wasted" to prepare concrete. ...
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What does Specific power [W/kg] of a Solar Array exactly mean?

I am trying to size (weight and surface) a Solar Array for a Mars Base (university project) and the main specification I get is Specific Power [W/kg]. However, I need to relate both weight and surface,...
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Dyson Swarm: Does Mercury have enough mass/raw material?

Does Mercury have enough mass/raw elements to construct an Inverse Dyson Swarm/Bubble (for lack of a better term)? Inverse Dyson Swarm/Bubble Wiki -- a lot like the Dyson Bubble around the star, but ...
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How to size Solar Array for Mars Surface

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 ...
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Radioisotope thermoelectric generator vs Solar? [duplicate]

What circumstance would a radioisotope thermoelectric generator is better to use than solar cells in space probes and rovers?
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How large would be the seasonal variation of eclipse duration for a spacecraft in LEO?

The question How long will a 500 km altitude satellite spend in Earth - shade per orbit has several answers, and there is some discussion of constraints related to maximum eclipse, due to some issues ...
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How fast is the onset of periodic eclipse for a spacecraft in LEO?

A spacecraft in low inclination LEO will undergo regular eclipsing of the Sun and this is a big issue for power management. How fast is the light-to-dark transition, say 90% to 10% sunlight intensity ...
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The Orbital Mass Accelerator Engine Theory

Can 2 satellites equal in weight traveling on the same orbital path in the opposite directions intersect and propel each other to gain altitude in orbit? Can orbital perturbation be negated during ...
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715 views

Why would SpaceX limit Starman’s Tesla signal transmission to 12 hours and not use solar power? [duplicate]

I'm as smitten as everyone else by Elon’s Starman cruisin' his Tesla through the cosmos. But I'm even more curious why we were limited to a signal transmission architecture with a mere 12-hour life ...
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What inspired the circular panels on the Phoenix Lander and InSight rover?

The solar panels on the Phoenix Lander and InSight rover seem to take on an iconic new look of circular solar panels. As far as I could see solar panels on landers and rover took up the maximum ...
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How much do solar cells for space cost? [closed]

There is a lot of discussion about refueling rockets in deep space. This is to be managed by electrolysis of water powered by solar cells. This requires a lot of energy so one needs a lot of solar ...
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Can ISS fold its solar panels?

The solar panel modules of ISS use an extending central truss structure to stretch two "ribbons" of solar panels. Can that structure be re-folded in space, if need arose (for whatever reason), or is ...
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How are the orientations of the ISS' eight independent solar arrays optimized?

I've noticed that in various photos and videos the orientation of the ISS' eight independent solar arrays are often moving, and usually some are different than others. 0th-order naive thinking would ...
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What are the sources of light at L2? How will the James Webb telescope be powered?

The James Webb space telescope will be positioned very close to L2. According to JPL, Webb will have a large solar-array to power itself. I don't understand how this works, since L2 is positioned "...
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Will the Planetary Society's LightSail spacecraft's solar panels be articulated during each orbit?

The NYTimes article Review: ‘Bill Nye: Science Guy,’ a Portrait of a Fighter for Facts includes a link to the film's trailer on YouTube and a photo of Bill Nye with a model of a 3U cubesat attached to ...
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Do Orion's solar panels have adjustable sweep?

In this video overview of NASA's proposed EM-1 mission, the solar panels on the Orion spacecraft are initially shown extending perpendicular to the spacecraft (at around 3:46). Shortly after that, as ...
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How are the silicon PV cells constructed in the ISS's solar panels? Are they as flexible as they appear here?

My understanding is that the ISS's solar panels are silicon and double sided to maximize bang-for-the-pound (average power per kilogram transported to orbit). See Are the ISS US Segment solar arrays ...
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'Space Transit Habitat' source(s) of energy

What are the sources of energy for a Space Transit Habitat(manned) in terms of both propulsion( after passing over the Low Earth Orbit) and required electric facilities)through a 6-8 month voyage to ...