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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4
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1answer
205 views

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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1answer
266 views

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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0answers
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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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3answers
560 views

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....
4
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1answer
154 views

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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1answer
83 views

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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1answer
228 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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6answers
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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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2answers
865 views

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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196 views

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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2answers
619 views

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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1answer
198 views

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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1answer
286 views

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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1answer
244 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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2answers
546 views

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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2answers
754 views

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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1answer
785 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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1answer
2k views

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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1answer
1k views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
437 views

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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1answer
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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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1answer
120 views

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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376 views

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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2answers
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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 ...
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1answer
342 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 ...
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1answer
573 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 ...
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2answers
843 views

How does ROSA unroll? (Roll Out Solar Array)

The upcoming SpaceX launch with the apparently first re-use of a dragon capsule will bring with it the Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA). (See also: More science, reused Dragon capsule featured on CRS-11) ...
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1answer
569 views

Are the ISS US Segment solar arrays double-sided?

Some answers on this site claim that the ISS US Segment solar arrays are double-sided (i.e. cells on both sides of the blanket). I tend to doubt this, but a search of my references did not turn up ...
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How much light is there on the way from Earth to Proxima Centauri?

I want to know how much light is there for a spacecraft that flies from earth to Proxima Centauri. I know there's the sun but what happens after the spacecraft leaves the solar system? Are there stars ...
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275 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 ...
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2answers
473 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 ...
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1answer
5k views

How does the efficacy of solar cells on Mars compare with Earth?

Mars gets less than half the light that we get on Earth and there are dust storms, but the atmosphere is much thinner and there are no clouds. After all factors have been considered, how effective are ...
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2answers
289 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 ...
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4answers
6k views

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 ...
2
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1answer
238 views

Solar Panel folding

If a spacecraft is going to use solar power as its source of electricity (either for propulsion or just components or both) and it's also going to travel far out into the solar system, to quite high ...
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4answers
539 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 ...
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1answer
479 views

How will GOES-R simultaneously point some instruments down at Earth and others sunward?

GOES-R is scheduled to launch soon and put in geostationary orbit over North America for high bandwidth continuous monitoring of Earth, with only 120 minutes per year interruptions caused by ...
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3answers
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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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2answers
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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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566 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
145 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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1answer
656 views

Why are these multi-junction solar cells 40% efficient on earth but 30% in space?

This video about Spectrolab's spacecraft power systems mentions Juno several times and it looks like the Juno panels are shown at several points in the video. Multi-junction cells are discussed, they ...
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1k views

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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2answers
352 views

Back to oribt from Mars - how many km^2 yr of solar power to make enough propellant?

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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2answers
632 views

When there is more power than needed, are satellite photovoltaics shunted or open circuit?

I saw the word "shunts" in this answer about DSCOVR's upgraded photovoltaic arrays when it was unmothballed and readied for space. Reading it, I get the idea that shunts are used to dissipate the ...
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1answer
186 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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2answers
1k views

Could we construct a solar driven rocket?

When the first solar driven aeroplane now has made a round trip of the globe, could we build a space craft driven by sunlight that could reach orbit?