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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8
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3answers
1k views

Optimal trajectory for solar electric propulsion?

Consider using solar electric propulsion for, e.g. Earth-Mars trip, or for asteroid retrieval mission. Is there a benefit to first entering an eccentric orbit so that part of the time is spent ...
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2answers
645 views

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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1answer
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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 ...
3
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1answer
217 views

Solar cell heating vs power draw

In a few questions ( Does the ISS need more heating or more cooling?, Why did Salyut 7 freeze over, while ISS requires massive cooling system? ) it is implied that the station inside heat budget is ...
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1answer
331 views

How long could Solar Impulse fly in the Venerean atmosphere?

Extremes of temperature, and pressure serve to effectively constrict the life-span of a PV cell on the Venerean surface. Despite the cloud cover, the Venus' proximity to Sol makes for upto 1km ...
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1answer
338 views

Why does DSCOVR appear to be missing solar cells?

In recent photos of DSCOVR I've noticed it appears to be missing eight solar cells in its array. In photos from the original "unboxing" from storage it appears to have all its cells. Why is this?
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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 "...
6
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1answer
326 views

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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1answer
1k views

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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2answers
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Making propellants on Mars: Why not just LH2/LOX instead of methane?

In this cool video of a presentation about SpaceX's GPU-based computational fluid dynamics, there is a slide early on about making rocket fuel on Mars - specifically using water from the ground and ...
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1answer
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What is the average intensity of sunlight on the Venerean surface?

A follow-up to How much more power does a PV cell generate in Venerean orbit? NASA writes to say about Venera 8 ... measured the light level as being suitable for surface photography, finding it ...
8
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1answer
584 views

What is the difference in solar panel efficiency between Solar Impulse & ISS?

Solar Impulse is on target to circle the world. Presumably Solar Impulse has the most current and efficient solar cells available, while those on the ISS range between 5 and 10 years old. How do the ...
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Will space-based energy beamed to earth increase heat on earth?

A Japanese paper on beaming energy from solar installation on the moon to earth via laser and microwave recently made the rounds in the media. Would this, or any space-based energy system cause a net ...
7
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1answer
276 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
172 views

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 ...
5
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3answers
331 views

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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2answers
511 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 ...
4
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1answer
94 views

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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2answers
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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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4answers
542 views

Probes on a Solar System Escape Trajectory

Not one probe that has or will leave the Solar System (Pioneer 10, Pioneer 11, Voyager 1, Voyager 2, and New Horizons) has a Solar Power System. This leads to the question, is there a reason behind ...
3
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1answer
257 views

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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1answer
148 views

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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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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2answers
572 views

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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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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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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1answer
177 views

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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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. ...
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4answers
613 views

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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1answer
331 views

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 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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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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