NASA to upgrade space station solar arrays


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NASA to upgrade space station solar arrays


WASHINGTON — NASA will start an upgrade this year of the solar arrays of the International Space Station to ensure the station has sufficient power to continue operating at least through the end of the decade.


The agency announced Jan. 11 it would fly the first pair of upgraded solar arrays to the station later this year on a SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft, stored in the spacecraft’s unpressurized trunk section. Two other pairs of the arrays will fly on later Dragon cargo missions, but NASA did not disclose a schedule for them.


NASA estimates that, when all six new arrays are installed, the overall power system will generate 215 kilowatts of power, compared to 160 kilowatts the existing arrays provide.


The new arrays will use a technology called Roll Out Solar Arrays (ROSA), developed by Deployable Space Systems. The solar arrays are rolled up in a canister and then unfurled, or rolled out, once in space. The ROSA system was tested on the ISS in 2017 and is now being incorporated into other spacecraft, such as the Power and Propulsion Element of NASA’s lunar Gateway.



2017 ROSA experiment


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