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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When docked, do Dragon solar panels contribute to ISS mains power?

What it says on the tin. Does a docked Dragon trunk section contribute to the ISS's batteries? I'm aware it would probably be minimal though due to orientation and occlusion of the panels, and when ...
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Where all is ROSA (roll-out solar array) planned to be used?

A comment below Why are DART's solar panels aligned like this? says: Maybe could have something to do with how much space they take up with rolled all the way in? This is also the first use of ...
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Why are DART's solar panels aligned like this?

I've never noticed this before, but the two solar arrays of NASA and APL's DART spacecraft are at different "levels". In this image, the solar panel on the left extends out from the "...
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Articulable/tilt-able solar panels planned for, or already tried on Mars or the Moon to get rid of deadly dust accumulation on solar panels?

From Forbes.com's Mars Opportunity And Spirit Rovers Could Have Lived Practically Forever With One Tiny Change: One option would be to install some mechanism such as wiper blades to remove any ...
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How efficient was Telstar's solar cell configuration, compared to a flat panel?

Telstar was a series of communication satellites first launched in 1962. The body of the satellite is roughly spherical, with much of the outer surface covered in solar cells. This gives the ...
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What was the first Soviet spacecraft that could recharge its battery it each orbit? Where were the photovoltaic cells made?

Sputnik 1 (/ˈspʌtnɪk, ˈspʊtnɪk/; "Satellite-1", or "PS-1", Простейший Спутник-1 or Prosteyshiy Sputnik-1, "Elementary Satellite 1") was the first artificial Earth ...
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When is the last time that a battery-powered spacecraft was launched without an RTG or solar-electric power?

Except for special sun-synchronous, Earth orbit eventually leads to eclipses, so spacecraft in Earth orbit generally have solar panels with electrical energy "buffered" by batteries. And ...
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Does the ISS currently use "night glider mode" as part of its solar array positioning plan?

I've seen several references on the site to a mode of ISS solar array position management called "night glider" where the solar arrays are turned to minimize drag when the ISS is on the ...
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Are there now established classes of solar-electric powered spacecraft?

The NASA.gov press release NASA Awards Contract to Launch Initial Elements for Lunar Outpost says: NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide ...
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How to move in space with just solar panels or without them?

What are the technologies known to humankind, to do propulsion in space, with a spacecraft having solar panels, when: It is under ample solar flux? It is interstellar under negligible solar flux? ...
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107 views

What are the Basics of CubeSat Power Supplies and Systems?

I am going to go ahead and apologize for my ignorance surrounding this topic, as my background is Aerodynamics, and not Electrical Engineering. From what I understand, CubeSats typically generate ...
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Can it be estimated when a first settlement near the equator would become more economical than one at the midlatitudes of Mars?

Choosing the right place on Mars for a settlement would be of course an important decision because once it's there it would take much time and money to move on to another, better location. Because the ...
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How often have dust devils saved a Martian lander or rover?

This answer to How are the Mars Rovers maintained? reminds us that ...much to the surprise of the early Mars scientists and rover teams, Mars takes care of the dust problem for us! Mars' typical ...
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How much did satellites and space exploration enable the development of solar panels?

After the demonstration of silicon solar panels in 1954, Bell Labs struggled to find demand for the solar panels as they were too expensive for most mainstream applications. However, satellites needed ...
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What would be the influence of nearby planets on a Dyson sphere or Dyson swarm?

Considering orbital mechanics, I would like to ask what would be the effect of nearby planets such as the Earth or Jupiter on a Dyson sphere. A Dyson sphere is not realistic because of the tremendous ...
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For the three spacecraft now on their way to Mars plus ExoMars, how many have any solar power capability during transit?

Right now EMM Hope, Tiangwen-1 and Mars2020 are on their way to Mars and ExoMars will go next time. For these four spacecraft how many of them have any provisions to use solar power via photovoltaic ...
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Mars versus the poles of Mercury WRT colonization

From MESSENGER Finds New Evidence for Water Ice at Mercury's Poles : Credits: NASA/John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington/National Astronomy and ...
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Do a significant proportion of cubesats (or any at all) have articulated solar panels/sails which can be pointed at the Sun?

It appears that for early cubesats the solar panels were simply fixed flat to the sides of the spacecraft, and even deployable panels were not part of early cubesat designs. Have a significant number ...
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Most efficient method of storing energy with water on the moon?

I found a large cavern under my lunar homestead. It is several hundred feet (a couple hundred meters) deep and fairly large. There is a large ice deposit at the bottom. I am able to warm it to ...
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How many discharge cycles do ISS and other LEO satellites withstand? What specific things are done to make this possible?

Batteries in our laptops and phones eventually wear out after thousands or tens of thousands of discharge cycles over the lifetime of the product, maybe a cycle ever few days. The ISS and other ...
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Why don't rockets recharge in space using solar panels while orbiting similar to ISS for deeper space travel?

I was just curious why this isn't possible because it's clearly been considered based on the existence of them in the ISS for keeping the facility online. I'd appreciate some clarity on this. Thanks a ...
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Why is there no concerted effort to collect solar energy on a global scale?

edit and update: the assumption here is that necessary batteries for storing solar energy simply aren't available on a global scale (without intending to get into the veracity of such a statement).) ...
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Any commercial communication satellite in GEO Orbit that supports 25 KW Power?

As I understand, EchosTAR-11, built by Space systems Loral, was the first 20KW Commercial satellite. (Reference: Recent Successful satellite systems- Visions for future by D.K.Sachdev).
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Does the proposed Voyager Station solar power arrangement make sense?

The Gateway Foundation has proposed a rotating space station with solar panels on the "hot side" (always facing the sun)/ This is to maximize power generation and minimize heating by keeping the body ...
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Using a solar sail to concentrate sunlight at large distances

Space probes which travel to the outer planets usually use RTGs to provide power as photovoltaic cells are impractical at those distances from the Sun. Solar sail could be used to first propel the ...
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Mining Helium-3 on the moon and sending it to Earth?

It would be best to mine and process material on the moon to obtain helium-3, but my question is, what if we did an unmanned mission? A small robot 1 meter long, powered by solar energy, that takes ...
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3k views

Could Stirling Engines work on sunlight alone?

With the heated side facing the sun and the rest in its own shade, could two contra-rotating Vacuum Stirling Engines and flywheels, in tandem, accumulate torque, to power a reaction wheel? Can the ...
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192 views

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 can't the VIPER lunar rover recharge its 100-day power source using its solar panels?

update: NASA wants ideas for keeping Moon missions powered in the dark Source NASA TechCrunch's NASA’s VIPER lunar rover will hunt water on the Moon in 2022 says: VIPER is a limited-time mission; ...
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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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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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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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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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Will the Mars helicopter be able to remove the dust from solar panels?

Although 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 will ...
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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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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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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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1answer
395 views

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 ...