Questions tagged [solar-power]

Questions on obtaining electrical energy from the light of the Sun through either direct photovoltaic conversion or thermal conversion.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
9
votes
1answer
1k views

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 "...
1
vote
1answer
106 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
303 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
547 views

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 ...
-2
votes
1answer
67 views

'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 ...
2
votes
1answer
316 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
502 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
766 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) ...
6
votes
1answer
449 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
0answers
234 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
442 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
4k 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
278 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
5k 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
votes
1answer
235 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
536 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
426 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What limits thrust-to-weight ratio of ion thusters?

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-...
14
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
506 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
138 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
600 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
996 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
332 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
521 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
891 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?
10
votes
1answer
962 views

How can the Parker Solar Probe survive passing within 4 million miles of the sun's surface?

There is a lot of information on the internet about NASA's Parker Solar Probe mission, including several multi-hundred page scientific reviews and in-depth studies - here's one. But could someone take ...
3
votes
2answers
267 views

Temperature of photovoltaic cells vs efficiency - is it ever actively controlled?

The efficiency of photovoltaic cells is surprisingly strong function of junction temperature. Hotter usually means lower efficiency. If one searches for example for images and sites tagged with "...
1
vote
2answers
152 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
140 views

Jupiter's impact on Juno's solar panels

Juno has large solar panels on it. I was curious about their effectiveness when Juno is closest to Jupiter. Does Jupiter have a significant impact on the solar panels? Can the solar panels ...
6
votes
2answers
198 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 ...
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) ...
7
votes
2answers
588 views

Solar cells in series

Most of space-based hardware operates on solar panels composed of lots of photovoltaic cells connected in short series that produce around 28V; lots of these are connected in parallel to produce ...
3
votes
2answers
148 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
67 views

Is there an upper limit for thrust generation by ion propulsion? [duplicate]

I was just reading an article about how the main factor preventing ion propulsion from being more effective is power generated from solar arrays. Solar arrays typically only generate 1-5 kW of power, ...
4
votes
1answer
698 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
571 views

How quickly do the Van Allen radiation belts degrade solar panels?

I heard the other day that to take cargo from Earth to a Lagrange point or the Moon using solar electric propulsion would be a problem because the Van Allen radiation belts would degrade the solar ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

Why do satellites never run out of power?

Why do the satellites never run out of power do they have batteries that are charged by sunlight everyday? Also they transmit so much information across the globe.
2
votes
1answer
326 views

Spatial solar panels area density through history [closed]

When working on a project, it is often useful to predict what will happen in the future, 5 or 10 years from now. Past data is needed in order to extrapolate them and make accurate predictions. How can ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
2
votes
1answer
254 views

What are the challenges in building a supercritical CO2 gas turbine power plant for a Mars habitat of 6 astronauts?

There is abundant $\require{mhchem}\ce{CO2}$ in martian atmosphere, so we could use that in a modified gas turbine. Can this, combined with PV cells (a hybrid power source), be an efficient energy ...
4
votes
1answer
373 views

Are there solar panels available today that would last through various lunar days?

I have been working on a project to build a realistic digital model of a Moon base. I'd assumed that during the initial phase of the base, the power source would be photovoltaic panels. But now that I ...
3
votes
1answer
213 views

Solutions to Ongoing Problems on the Solar Panel rotary joints

What are the causes of the damaged SARJ on the ISS? This occurred back in 2007, and endangers the lives of astronauts. Also, what are the solutions to this problem. Does anyone know what types of ...
7
votes
2answers
668 views

Could a space based solar power system be used as a weapon?

Space based solar power systems that beam power back to terrestrial receivers have been discussed for decades. However, I've always had a nagging concern that such a system, once built, could be ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

How could a fast powerful rover on Mars be powered electrically?

Background The rovers on Mars are slow and weak. If I am to believe what I read, MSL Curiosity only produces 1/6th of a horsepower electric effect, 125 watt. In order to perform tasks like deep ...
7
votes
4answers
2k views

Why aren't solar collectors in space solar power concepts placed closer to the sun?

I've been thinking about space solar power for quite some time, as to how it could be more profitable than ground based solar power. From all the concepts that I have seen the main problem I always ...
5
votes
1answer
246 views

Is utilizing the high temperature for chemical reactions on Venus a feasible way of generating electricity?

I assume utilizing habitats floating high in the Venus atmosphere as described by Geoffrey Landis. So weight, size etc is a constraint, and we will not be operating at the surface with the crushing ...