WASHINGTON, 13 Aug. 2012.NASA officials have selected Deployable Space Systems (DSS) of Goleta, Calif., and ATK Space Systems Inc. in Commerce, Calif., to develop advanced solar array systems under the Space Technology program. Power generated by advanced solar array systems enable high-power solar electric propulsion for future NASA human exploration and science missions, communications satellites, and other future spacecraft applications.
NASA officials selected proposals offering innovative approaches to the development of next-generation, large-scale solar arrays and associated deployment mechanisms. Advanced solar arrays are expected to reduce weight and stowed volume drastically compared to current systems, as well as to improve the efficiency and functionality of future systems that will produce hundreds of kilowatts of power.
"The technology embodied in these proposals will greatly advance the boundaries of NASA's science and exploration capabilities," says Michael Gazarik, director of NASA's Space Technology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our investment in this technology acknowledges that this technology is a priority for NASA's future missions, as reported recently by the National Research Council. Once matured through these ground tests, NASA hopes to test next generation solar array systems in space, opening the door for exploration of a near-Earth asteroid, Mars and beyond."
The solicitation covers two acquisition phases. Under Phase 1, Deployable Space Systems and ATK Space Systems will develop their solar array system technology during the next 18 months.
During Phase 1, Deployable Space Systems and ATK Space Systems will design, analyze, and test a scalable solar array system capable of generating more than 30kW of power. In addition, the Phase 1 teams will identify the most critical technological risks of extending their concept to 250kW or greater power levels. Phase 1 awards range between $5 million and $7 million. Phase 2 is to prove flight readiness through an in-space demonstration of an advanced, modular and extendable solar array system.
NASA's Game Changing Development Program Office, located at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., sponsored this solicitation under Phase 1. NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland will manage the awarded contracts for the agency's Space Technology Program.
NASA's Space Technology Program is innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in NASA's future science and exploration missions.