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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How many square meters of solar panel to power a MOXIE-like oxygen source per person?

If I wanted to live in a box on Mars to write my screenplay about living in a box on Mars, how many square meters of solar panels would I need to power a MOXIE-like CO2-to-O2 converter in order to ...
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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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How well does polymer filament survive space radiation?

I am reading Medium.com's 3D Printing Is Going to Space and Made In Space is doing something very cool. However, the point of failure in a system like this seems to be the polymer strut itself - how ...
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What is the benefit of rigid solar arrays over flexible ones?

I read somewhere that flexible arrays tend do waver when a satellite is rotated so it would make Earth observing satellites have 'fuzzy' pictures. But I also read that Hubble used a flexible array for ...
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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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What limits thrust-to-weight ratio of ion thusters? (beside power density of energy source)

If we consider nuclear-rocket technology not feasible (whether due to technological or political limitations), the second best options for future transportation in solar system are perhaps solar-...
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Redeployable solar arrays. Do they exist? or are they being worked on?

Has it ever been done, or is anyone working on, redeployable solar arrays? In other words, a solar cell array that can be deployed in space, used for a period, and then folded up again into the ship, ...
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Did Juno just do a plane change? If so, by how much?

There are several reports in the news that the Juno spacecraft executed a very long propulsive maneuver so that it wouldn't pass through Jupiter's shadow. Apparently it would be in dark so long that ...
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What spacecraft relied on solar electrical power farthest from the Sun?

Question: What spacecraft relied on solar electrical power farthest from the Sun? If you like you can break it down by use case; spacecraft that used it for solar-electric propulsion (and weren't ...
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Do space solar panels use more of the solar spectrum?

Quite a bit of the EM spectrum is filtered out by the Earth's atmosphere, which means there's less incident solar energy per area on the ground that in space. There's more discussion of that topic ...
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What is the calculation for the distance VIPER can travel without recharging its batteries?

VIPER, the lunar rover NASA has developed to search for water in the permanently shadowed regions near the south pole of our Moon, will be equipped with (rechargeable) batteries to be able to drive, ...
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Mass ratio of solar-electric versus radioisotope thermo-electric power for propulsion; beyond how many AU do RTGs win?

Solar-electric propulsion has been used several times now in deep space missions. This question explores the scalability in comparison to Radioisotope thermoelectric generation or other nuclear-based ...
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Why can't the VIPER lunar rover recharge its 100-day power source using its solar panels?

Source NASA TechCrunch's NASA’s VIPER lunar rover will hunt water on the Moon in 2022 says: VIPER is a limited-time mission; operating at the poles means there’s no sunlight to harvest with solar ...
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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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How long is a day on the Moon?

I am moving to live on the Moon, I have a solar panel that only makes power when the sun shines on it. I will need to charge batteries to give me power during the lunar night. But I can't figure out ...
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What exactly has “changed” about the way that NASA will procure technology for the Artemis program?

A video in the Space.com article NASA Taps Maxar to Build Lunar Gateway Power Module for Artemis Moon Plan shows the NASA director explaining the series Artemis 1, 2, 3... and announcing that the ...
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Power supply for StarShip?

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 ...
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Why does the ISS not use the most efficient solar panels available?

In this question, Geoffc's answer stated that the ISS solar arrays are about 14% efficient. Higher efficiency panels were available when these arrays were manufactured. Given the high cost per pound ...
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Peltier cell as solar cell in space

There's a related question: In space can the difference in temperature between the inside and outside, provide useful energy? The problem with that one is that it relies on the concept of "hot inside"...
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Power generation from cosmic rays or particles?

A random thought occurred to me: Can we harness the energy from cosmic rays or particles or deadly radiation that's found (in space) just like we do for solar energy?
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Why can't solar panels work eternally for any space probe?

I was just thinking about this that as all probes have solar panels attached to them so why do they have to shut down at the last stage, So I googled and found that dust sticks to panels because of ...
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Will the Rosalind Franklin (ExoMars) rover solar panels be able to clear themselves of dust by tilting?

The BBC News item 'Rosalind Franklin' Mars rover assembly completed contains a short video, and I show some screen shots below. It looks like the panels unfold twice, from two stacks of three, to six ...
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Function of the separated, individual solar cells on Telstar 1 and 2? Why were they “special”?

The image below shows a part of a backup satellite for Telstar 1 and 2. In addition to the many small and highly segmented solar panels, there are what look like individual elements of the same kind ...
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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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Lightest possible solar array?

I'd like to know what is the lightest possible solar array per unit power with current or near future technology. The arrays I have been able to find: Vanguard Space THINS 400-500 W/kg (2014; thin ...
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Will the Mars helicopter be able to remove the dust from solar panels?

Athough i'm not that worried about Insight's solar panels that i didn't sleep well because of that, this question got me thinking ! The Mars Helicopter Scout is a planned robotic helicopter that ...
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What is InSight's one-sol energy budget on a good day?

I am still 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? Please help me to sleep ...
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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 ...
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Manufacturing solar cells on the Moon

How practical is it to manufacture solar cells on the Moon? I understand there is a lot of silica there, and in theory if we could robotically make and deploy solar cells on the Moon, then we would (...
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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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Why didn't Gemini, Apollo or STS use solar panels?

Short-duration flights (Vostok, Voskhod, Mercury) use several-kWh batteries. Space stations use photovoltaic cells for their high power-to-weight ratio. The longest mission duration accomplished with ...
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How could a satellite follow earth around the sun while staying outside of earth's orbit?

I'm wondering if its possible for a satellite to follow earth around the sun while staying outside of its orbit. I wondering for the sake of space based solar infrastructure or just something ...
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What would keep Dyson Swarm reflectors in place?

I've been reading a bit about the concept of a Dyson Swarm and how one of the more plausible routes would be to disassemble Mercury to construct ~1km hematite mirrors as the swarm reflectors. The ...
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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 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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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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Is solar panel efficiency defined and measured differently for space vs terrestrial applications?

Since the shape (as well as the integral) of the solar irradiance spectrum above the atmosphere is different than that below it, is the efficiency of photovoltaic solar panels defined and measured ...
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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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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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Do solar panels on satellites gather dust and need cleaning?

As a follow-up to Does cosmic dust pose a problem for long-term satellites, telescopes and probes?, assuming satellite's long duration stay in Earth's orbit – let's for the sake of argument assume a ...
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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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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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Curiosity is still dirty! How will the ExoMARS Rover keep its solar panels dust-free and collecting sufficient power?

update: Current events makes this question even more poignant sols 5183 to 5189, Aug. 23, 2018 - Aug. 29, 2018: Team Continues to Listen for Opportunity Curiosity selfie has been released just a few ...
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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 ...
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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 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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Solar panels on Mars?

I was wondering if a base on Mars could be powered by solar energy alone? Since Mars is further away from the Sun wouldn't that mean lower efficiency thus making solar not scalable? Let's assume 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....