Flexible Solar Array Blanket Technology (DRT Proposal PDRT-025)
Agency / Branch:
DOD / USAF
This SBIR develops a method for the integration of high-efficiency, thin-film solar cells into an Integrated Blanket Interconnect System array that features high specific power, low stowed volume, and a simple and reliable manufacturing approach. The Phase II program completes the design of the IBIS, including design of the IMM cell in concert with the cell supplier, bypass diode integration, covershield material, wiring, and stowage. Coupons will be assembled and tested to characterize and compare covershield material performance in multiple radiation environments. Three IBIS module test articles will be constructed utilizing streamlined manufacturing methods and an automated, consistent interconnecting method. The modules will undergo testing in relevant space environments including thermal cycling and thermal vacuum, with pre- and post- LAPSS characterization. Completion of the Phase II effort will see the IBIS technology ready for insertion into military, commercial, or experimental flight applications. Particular emphasis will be placed on inserting the IBIS in a flight experiment quickly, possibly as part of the MATRS experiment which already plans to fly DRT hardware. BENEFIT: An IBIS array that implements high-efficiency, thin-film solar cells offers several advantages over traditional triple junction, rigid substrate arrays. The flexible nature of the IBIS and its reduced thickness allow it to be stowed in a low volume. This feature along with the higher mass-specific power of the IBIS allows more power to be launched with a satellite than has ever been possible previously. Further, the continuous covershield allows the use of higher voltages which can in turn reduce gauge and weight of the wire harness. The laminated approach to the manufacture of the IBIS lends itself to lower manufacturing costs. This and the automation that is possible with novel interconnect approaches both reduce cost and improve reliability. Overall, the cost of the IBIS is likely to be lower than that of a traditional array. These features make the IBIS highly desirable for high-power missions that would not have previously considered a planar solar array. Such missions include DARPA FAST, Boeing HPSA, and MDA STSS. Additional applications include those with a high premium on mass such as UAVs or high-altitude airships.
Small Business Information at Submission:
DR Technologies, Inc.
9431 Dowdy Drive San Diego, CA 92126
Number of Employees: