NASA has chosen three firms to additional advance work on deployable photo voltaic array programs that may assist energy the company’s human and robotic exploration of the moon beneath Artemis.
By Artemis missions, NASA will return people to the moon and set up a long-term presence close to the lunar South Pole. A dependable, sustainable energy supply is required to help lunar habitats, rovers, and even development programs for future robotic and crewed missions. To assist present this energy, NASA is supporting growth of vertical photo voltaic arrays that may autonomously deploy as much as 32ft excessive and retract for relocation if crucial.
“These prototypes will present promising options for dependable energy sources on the moon, that are key to the success of virtually something we do on the floor,” stated Niki Werkheiser, director of expertise maturation in NASA’s House Know-how Mission Directorate (STMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This thrilling effort performs a vital function that may fairly actually assist energy our Artemis exploration within the uniquely difficult atmosphere of the moon’s South Pole.”
The company will award a complete of $19.4 million to 3 firms to construct prototypes and carry out environmental testing, with the aim of deploying one of many programs close to the moon’s South Pole close to the top of this decade. The designs should stay steady on sloped terrain and be proof against abrasive lunar mud, all whereas minimizing each mass and stowed quantity to assist within the system’s supply to the lunar floor. The awards embrace:
• Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: $6.2 million
• Honeybee Robotics of Brooklyn, New York: $7 million
• Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado: $6.2 million
Current space-rated photo voltaic array constructions are designed to be used in microgravity or for horizontal floor deployment. The vertical orientation and peak of those new designs will assist stop lack of energy on the lunar poles the place the Solar doesn’t rise very far above the horizon. When the solar is low on the horizon, the moon’s terrain can block a few of its mild, conserving it from reaching photo voltaic arrays which might be low to the bottom. By inserting the photo voltaic arrays on tall masts, these designs permit for uninterrupted mild and due to this fact produce extra energy.
“We’re very excited to have the ability to choose these three groups as all of them carry very completely different technological options in addition to distinctive visions for the way business house can help a sustained presence on the moon,” stated Chuck Taylor, Vertical Photo voltaic Array Know-how (VSAT) venture supervisor at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
The contracts are a part of the company’s VSAT venture, which goals to help NASA’s long-term lunar floor operations. In 2021, NASA selected five companies to create preliminary designs for vertical photo voltaic array applied sciences. VSAT is led by STMD’s Recreation Altering Improvement program and Langley in collaboration with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.