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The objective of the “Next Generation Solar Array Low Level TRL Development Activities” was to:
In this case, a hybrid S/A is specified as a combination of a
The most challenging technology developments required for the new,hybrid S/A concept are:
The main benefits of NGSA are:
The key feature of the NGSA-concept is the development of light weight semi-rigid panels as generic building blocks to enlarge the deployed solar array surface depending on the platform / mission power demand. During launch, the semi-rigid panels are folded in between the rigid panels in order to minimize the stowage volume. Hence, the stowed S/A volume and mass stay considerably low compared to its predecessors of the same power class. Moreover, the modular concept offers substantial growth potential for future high power applications.
The system architecture development mainly focused on the integration of the lateral panels into the overall design as well as the development of a deployment strategy.
These boundary conditions eventually led to the semi-rigid panel design. The following aspects were considered and tested for the definition and characterisation of the semi-rigid panel structure:
Furthermore, the hinges for the semi-rigid panels had to be developed. In contrast to conventional hinges, they are solely made from two tape springs and the corresponding interface brackets. The springs combine the hinge function, energy storage for deployment, and electrical conductor in a single element.
The technologies developed within this contract are largely applied in the Eurostar NEO Solar Array for the first time. In addition to this, the processes and technologies (e.g. KO8242 interconnector technology, new solar cell contacting technology or advanced laydown) can also be used for other missions, e.g. MEO or even LEO (mission specific delta qualification might be required). Also, they allow for a much higher degree of automatization in the PVA production.
With the Eurostar NEO S/A family, many of the developed technologies of this successful Artes 5.2 contract are currently under qualification, or ready for flight application.
The first telecommunication satellites based on the Eurostar NEO platform will be the Eutelsat Hotbird satellites 13F and G with a launch date in 2021.