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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2answers
419 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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93 views

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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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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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 ...
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1answer
353 views

Is the waste heat (sink) system dependent on whether the energy source is nuclear or solar?

A power plant in space causes waste heat which has to be removed from the plant. The need for large heat sinks, and their mass, kind of bogs down some of the advantages of big nuclear power in space. ...
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1answer
104 views

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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1answer
585 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
309 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 "...
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196 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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36 views

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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144 views

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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77 views

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 are the tradeoffs of circularly unfurling solar panel over linearly deploying solar panels?

Martian landers like Phoenix and Insight uses circularly unfurling solar panels. The regular satellites make use of linearly unfurling panels. What are the primary reasons why linear unfurling ...
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146 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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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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231 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
275 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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287 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 ...
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357 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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1answer
345 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 ...
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1answer
348 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
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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1answer
80 views

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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1answer
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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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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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1answer
172 views

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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148 views

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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1answer
230 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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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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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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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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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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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?
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561 views

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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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.
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What is a reasonable cost estimate for space solar power (SSP)? [closed]

What is a reasonable cost estimate for the following: A single space solar power station beaming power to earth via laser or maser and one associated receiving station? The following complex: A moon ...
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291 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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1answer
56 views

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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1answer
122 views

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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1answer
119 views

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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1answer
264 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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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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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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1answer
801 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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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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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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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, ...
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308 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
495 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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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 ...