ATK has developed and tested a photovoltaic array for solar electric propulsion systems that NASA intends to use to power future robotic and manned spacecraft.
The company’s MegaFlex solar array wing has a diameter of 32 feet and is designed to generate up to 400 kilowatts of electric power, ATK said Wednesday.
“The completion of this testing validates the technology and allows us to support near-term missions that require very high power with a very lightweight advanced solar array,” said Dave Shanahan, vice president and general manager for the space components division at ATK’s aerospace group.
ATK built the solar technology under a $6.4 million contract awarded by NASA in October 2012.
Tests occurred at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Ohio over the past three months and included environmental exposure analysis, modal identification, strength measurement and extreme temperature deployment.
MegaFlex is derived from the company’s UltraFlex solar panel that helped power NASA’s 2008 Phoenix Mars lander.