Hubble Space Telescope Solar Cell Module Thermal Cycle Test 929243
The Hubble space telescope (HST) solar array consists of two identical double roll-out wings designed after the Hughes flexible roll-up solar array (FRUSA) and was developed by the European Space Agency (ESA) to meet specified HST power output requirements at the end of 2 years, with a functional lifetime of 5 years. The requirement that the HST solar array remain functional both mechanically and electrically during its 5-year lifetime meant that the array must withstand 30,000 low-Earth orbit (LEO) thermal cycles between approximately +100 and -100 °C. In order to evaluate the ability of the array to meet this requirement, an accelerated thermal cycle test in vacuum was conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), using two 128-cell solar array modules which duplicated the flight HST solar array. Several other tests were performed on the modules. The thermal cycle test was interrupted after 2,577 cycles, and a “cold-roll” test was performed on one of the modules in order to evaluate the ability of the flight array to survive an emergency deployment during the dark (cold) portion of an orbit. A posttest static shadow test was performed on one of the modules in order to analyze temperature gradients across the module. Finally, current in-flight electrical performance data from the actual HST flight solar array will be presented.