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53
votes
4answers
6k views

Why wasn't an RTG used on the Juno spacecraft?

When I first heard about the Juno spacecraft, I was surprised that it would be using solar panels to generate power throughout the mission. Why wasn't a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG) ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
0answers
239 views

Were solar concentrators on HS-702 just a stop-gap measure until triple-junction PV cells were available?

According to Gunter's Space Page discussion of early versions of the Hughes HS-702 Bus: The first version of the 702 used solar arrays with concentrators. These concentrators tended to early ...
6
votes
2answers
199 views

Why do Juno's solar panels narrow toward the core?

I'm no engineer, but if I was making a vessel with extending sails, solar panels, mast, antennae, etc. I would make them widest close to the core. But Juno's solar panels narrow toward the core as ...
5
votes
2answers
447 views

MetOp-A; Why this unusual solar panel shape and deployment method?

This solar panel is closer to square than most solar panels I've seen, which tend to be very long - length/width ratio perhaps 4 to 6. This looks like only 1.5, and it seems to be located at the end ...
5
votes
1answer
146 views

What criteria dictate solar panel design?

On space craft equipped with solar panels, those panels comes with various form factors and number. 2 straight rows (e.g. progress, rosetta,...) more straight rows (e.g. ATV, Juno,...) only one ...
4
votes
1answer
704 views

Why are the ISS' Sequential Shunt Units not on the inside?

Recently Tim Peake and Tim Kopra carried out an EVA to replace a failed Sequential Shunt Unit, some form of electrical regulator for the solar panels, on the outside of the ISS. Why aren't these ...
4
votes
1answer
177 views

Were the ISS Solar Arrays manufactured as a set?

The solar arrays used on the ISS were launched in 4 different launches. Starting in 2000 for the first array, used on the Z-0 truss, to 2007, 2008, and 2009 for the final three. Are all 4 of them ...
3
votes
2answers
149 views

Could Solar Cells provide Neutron shielding?

In any (deep) spacecraft, radiation shielding is paramount. Neutrons and gamma rays can only be stopped by putting mass (or distance) between source and target. It seems that one should put more ...
3
votes
1answer
517 views

ViaSat's 18 kW solar array - largest ever for a commercial telecom satellite?

Now that the protests at Kourou Space Center in French Guiana are over, Arianne has launched both EutelSat 172B and ViaSat-2 as 2017-029A. While EutelSat 172B has a ...
2
votes
1answer
319 views

Why do the solar panels on the seven Sentinel configurations look so completely different from each other?

I understant that these six different Earth-observing satellite platforms measure and image Earth data differenty, but there is just such a wide variety of different ways to build solar panels and ...
1
vote
2answers
280 views

Could robotic ornithopter have all energy it needs to be able to fly from solar power?

I read from here that there’s this material called Organic photovoltaic (OPV) solar cells that could be used, for example, as wing material for an ornithopter. How much energy would it be able to ...
1
vote
2answers
154 views

Has the choice of photovoltaic junction types for newer spacecraft converged on one, optimal solution?

On earth, the photovoltaic cell junction for mass production tends to be just silicon, although there is a variety of material types - single crystal vs multicrystal or polycrystal, or even amorphous. ...