Operational Considerations of the Advanced Photovoltaic Solar Array 929501
In 1985, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), under sponsorship from the NASA Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology (OAST), initiated the Advanced Photovoltaic Solar Array (APSA) Program. The objective of the program was to demonstrate a producible solar array system by the early 1990's with a beginning-of-life (BOL) specific power of >130 w/kg at 10 kw as an intermediate milestone towards NASA's far-term goal of 300 w/kg at 20 kw.
In 1991, a prototype flatpack, foldout, flexible blanket wing had been built and was subjected to a series of deployment tests and stowed launch loading tests to demonstrate design feasibility. Array performance was over 130 w/kg @ 12 kw using currently available technology and components. With advanced solar cell technology, the design has the potential to achieve the far-term goal of 300 w/kg.
This paper discusses issues affecting array long-term operational performance, in particular, circuit electrical integrity from shadowed and cracked cell modules. Flight test modules both recently fabricated and under fabrication are described. Finally, development of advanced high performance blanket technology for future APSA enhancement is presented.