New So­lar Cells for Space Tested on Suborbital Flight

The ear­ly-morn­ing launch of the ATEK/MAPHEUS-8, pre­pared for and im­ple­ment­ed by the DLR’s Mo­bile Rock­et Base (MORA­BA) di­vi­sion. (Credit: DLR)

MUNICH, Germany (DLR PR) — Almost all satellites are powered by solar cells – but solar cells are heavy. While conventional high-performance cells reach up to three watts of electricity per gram, perovskite and organic hybrid cells could provide up to 10 times that amount.

A research team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) has now tested this type of cell in space for the first time.

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Testing Solar Cells at the Edge of Space

Colin Mann (front) and Don Walker operate the solar simulator in the laboratory. (Credit: Jeff Berting/Aerospace Corporation)

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Aerospace Corporation PR) — As the power source for spacecraft, solar cells perform an important function and need to work as expected on orbit.

An Aerospace team patented a minuscule device that helps them accurately assess the performance of various solar cells before sending them into space.

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AFRL’s Advanced Multi-junction Solar Cells Deliver High Efficiency, Reduced Costs

Inverted Metamorphic Multi-Junction Solar Cells are a more efficient and lighter weight alternative to the state-of-practice multi-junction space solar cells. (Credit: SolAero Technologies)

By Marisa Alia-Novobilski
Air Force Research Laboratory

Experts at the Air Force Research Laboratory continue to expand the scope of their technological expertise, rising above the Earth’s surface to meet the power needs of next generation military spacecraft.

A collaborative effort between the AFRL Materials and Manufacturing and Space Vehicles Directorates, the Space Industrial Base Working Group and SolAero Technologies has resulted in state-of-the art, multi-junction solar cells destined to reduce costs and increase power efficiency for military space applications.

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