Company Demonstrates High-Volume, Quick-Turn Automation, Advances in Development of Surface Mount Solar Array Technologies
LOUISVILLE, Colo. – August 9, 2022 – Sierra Space, a leading commercial space company at the forefront of creating and building the future of space transportation and infrastructure for low-Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization, today announced the company has started the delivery of its proprietary, patented Surface Mount Technology (SMT) solar power systems.
Sierra Space’s innovative and groundbreaking solar arrays will supply the satellite industry with higher power densities, drastically reduced production times and high reliability. Initial deliveries in 2022 include multiple lunar power systems, namely the recent NASA VIPER rover – which passed a major qualification with a thermal regime range of -235C to +160C – and the iSpace HAKUTO-R lander later this year. HAKUTO-R delivered more than 800W on the first of several landers. In addition, Sierra Space has delivered multiple SMT solar panels for GEO and LEO missions with significant flight heritage on a 250W spacecraft that continues to operate flawlessly with over a year in LEO orbit.
Sierra Space recognizes the significant demand resulting from the high-volume constellation market that requires an innovative way to manufacture space-qualified solar arrays at a much higher rate and lower cost. To support this rapidly emerging market, Sierra Space has developed an in-house, vertically integrated, surface mount production line that is capable of producing over five watts per minute. This new production line is already producing solar panels destined for the moon’s surface.
For future lighter-weight solar arrays, Sierra Space has developed SMT solar cells attached to fully flexible Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and successfully rolled onto a four-inch diameter mandrel. This capability will enable automated production, higher power densities and shorter lead times of flexible, deployable solar arrays for both small- and large-scale deployables; high-rate deliveries enable lower cost to Sierra Space customers.
“The work Sierra Space does with designing, developing and utilizing solar arrays has never been more important,” said Tom Crabb, SVP & GM Space Applications, Sierra Space. “We are making critical and crucial progress that enables effective, efficient and cost-reducing measures to ensure that all Sierra Space missions, or missions that use our technology, will have the ability to harness reliable and higher density power on a wider scale.”
Through thousands of devices, on hundreds of missions, with one hundred percent on-orbit success, Sierra Space recently celebrated 35 years of supplying high-end, engineered subsystems and components for the space industry.
About Sierra Space
Sierra Space (www.sierraspace.com) is a leading commercial space company at the forefront of innovation and the commercialization of space. Sierra Space is building platforms in space to benefit life on Earth. The company is in the latter stages of doubling its headcount, with large presences in Colorado, Florida and Wisconsin. Significant investors in Sierra Space include General Atlantic, Coatue, and Moore Strategic Ventures.
With more than 30 years and 500 missions of space flight heritage, Sierra Space is enabling the future of space transportation with Dream Chaser®, the world’s only winged commercial spaceplane. Under construction at its Colorado headquarters and expected to launch in 2023 on the first of a series of NASA missions to the International Space Station, Dream Chaser® can safely carry cargo – and eventually crew – to on-orbit destinations, returning to land on compatible commercial airport runways worldwide. Sierra Space is also building an array of in-space destinations for low Earth orbit (LEO) commercialization including the LIFE™ (Large Flexible Integrated Environment) habitat at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a three-story commercial habitation and science platform designed for LEO. Both Dream Chaser® and LIFE™ are central components to Orbital Reef, a mixed-use business park in LEO being developed by principal partners Sierra Space and Blue Origin, which is expected to be operational by 2027.
ICR for Sierra Space