Flexible Covershield for Thin Film Solar Arrays (PDRT09-031)
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
DR Technologies, Inc. will begin development of a flexible covershield material capable of protecting thin film solar cells from space environments including ionizing radiation, atomic oxygen, humidity, and high voltage discharge. The covershield will be designed to maximize EOL power output after 5 years in LEO and 15 years in GEO. Phase I work will focus on two specific technology advancements that will enable a reduction in quantity and thickness of covershield layers, increasing BOL and EOL transmittance. The two technologies are transparent conductive bulk silicone and radiation hardened silicone. The conductive silicone will be developed using existing, proven materials while optimizing for spectral transmittance. The silicone will be radiation hardened using two approaches, each of which has been demonstrated previously, but can be optimized for a flexible covershield. All of the new technologies will be exposed to ionizing radiation to characterize their performance in a relevant environment. Additionally, a summarizing matrix will be created that lists critical properties of each coverglass material, allowing quick assessment of the tradeoffs of each technology. This matrix will streamline the selection of future configurations and experiments and ultimately allow rapid, informed selection of coverglass material appropriate to specific mission requirements. BENEFIT: There is an urgent need for the supply of space solar arrays with improved cost, reliability, stowability, and high specific power. A successful Phase I will demonstrate the feasibility of improved covershield materials that will make such arrays possible, enabling a reduction in mass and an increase in power on orbit. As a solar array integrator and developer of flexible solar array blankets, DR Technologies is ideally positioned to quickly implement advances in coverglass technology into a space flight.
Small Business Information at Submission:
DR Technologies, Inc.
9431 Dowdy Drive San Diego, CA 92126
Number of Employees: