March 30, 2023

NASA has chosen three corporations to undertake work on mobile solar array structures that would power the agency’s Artemis human and robotic study of the Moon.

NASA will ship humans to the Moon via the Artemis missions and set up a protracted presence near the lunar South Pole. A dependable, long-term power supply is necessary to power lunar habitats, rovers, and even future robotic and crewed missions. NASA is supporting in the creation of vertical solar panels that can routinely make use of 32 feet high and retract for repositioning if necessary.

According to Niki Werkheiser, director of technological know-how maturation at NASA Headquarters in Washington in NASA’s (STMD) Space Technology Mission Directorate. “These prototypes will provide promising solutions for dependable power sources on the Moon, which are key to the success of almost some thing we do on the surface,” furthermore she added “This thrilling effort plays a critical position that will quite literally assist power our Artemis exploration in the uniquely challenging surroundings of the Moon’s the South Pole.”

NASA will award a total of $19.4 million to three businesses for the improvement of prototypes and environmental testing, to deploy one of the systems close to the Moon’s the South Pole by the end of the decade. The designs need to be stable on sloped terrain and resistant to abrasive lunar dust, all while lowering bulk and stowed volume to facilitate the delivery of the machine to the lunar surface. Among the honors are:

Astrobotic Technology of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: $6.2 million

Honeybee Robotics of Brooklyn, New York: $7 million

Lockheed Martin of Littleton, Colorado: $6.2 million

Existing structures of space-rated solar array buildings are intended for deployment in microgravity or on a horizontal surface. The new designs’ vertical orientation and height will resource in preventing power loss in the lunar poles, the place the Sun does not rise very some distance over the horizon. When the Sun is low on the horizon, the Moon’s terrain can block some of its light, preventing it from reaching low-lying photo voltaic arrays. These designs enable uninterrupted light and so create greater power by mounting the photo voltaic arrays on tall masts.

“We are very excited to be able to select these three groups as they all bring very different technological options as well as unique visions for how industrial space can support a sustained presence on the Moon,” cited Chuck Taylor, project manager of Vertical Solar Array Technology (VSAT) at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

VSAT is guided by means of Langley and Game Changing Development programs of STMD in collaboration with Glenn Research Center of NASA in Cleveland. VSAT projects consist of contracts that will focal point on supporting the long-term lunar surface operations of NASA. Initially, NASA commenced with five companies to plan vertical solar array technology.

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