mPower Technology’s DragonSCALES solar cells to launch on Sparkwing in-orbit demonstrator with Momentus’ Vigoride transfer vehicle
(14 October 2020 - mPower Technolgy) Solar technology company, mPower Technology, today announced that its DragonSCALES solar cell prototype has completed integration and testing on a Sparkwing in-orbit solar array technology demonstrator in preparation for inclusion on Momentus’ Vigoride transfer vehicle launch taking place in the fourth quarter of 2020.
(courtesy: mPower Technology)
DragonSCALES was developed to provide a low-cost, voltage-adjustable, high packing factor and lightweight solar power module that streamlines panel assembly and is designed for the needs of commercial LEO (low earth orbit) satellite constellations.
The Sparkwing team has introduced a groundbreaking new approach towards low cost, fast-delivery solar arrays for smallsats by offering a catalogue approach for standardized solar array models, similar to the automotive industry. The team is interested in mPower’s solar cell technology because of its potential to offer a unique combination of cost and performance benefits for next-gen solar arrays.
DragonSCALES enable disruptive, new approaches to solar applications by leveraging small, advanced silicon cells integrated on a flexible substrate in a patented, highly interconnected architecture. They provide unprecedented improvements in system cost, weight, flexibility, resilience, and ease of installation and system integration.
For emerging satellite missions, primes are continuously searching for alternative photovoltaic assembly (PVA) solutions that bring more power at lower price points and shorter delivery schedules. Silicon-based DragonSCALES solutions provide a viable, tested alternative for space power applications with advanced architecture, unparalleled performance, streamlined production and lower cost per watt.
“mPower is disrupting the space power market with its alternative approach to solar power,” said Kevin Hell, president and CEO of mPower Technology. “The Sparkwing team needs a resilient, flexible, cost-effective solar solution for their innovative smallsat solar array product, and DragonSCALES is the perfect fit given its ease of integration and unique ability to meet customized mission requirements.”
“We are very interested in the launch of this demonstrator together with mPower and Momentus, and looking forward to the in-orbit results. At Sparkwing, we are always looking for cutting-edge technologies that will change the approach to space power in subsequent missions. We’re closely following the mPower development.” said Marloes van Put, who is leading the Sparkwing initiative.
About mPower Technology
mPower Technology is shaping the future of solar power with a revolutionary new technology called DragonSCALES, a completely flexible, interconnected mesh of miniature solar cells. Leveraging well-established and affordable materials, processes, and tools from the silicon photovoltaic (PV) and microelectronics industries, DragonSCALES enable completely new design options for solar power, removing the constraints of existing silicon and gallium arsenide solar solutions, and enabling highly flexible, resilient, light-weight designs that can be rapidly deployed at extremely low cost.
Sparkwing is the world’s first commercially available, off-the-shelf solar array for small satellites. It is optimized for LEO missions requiring power levels between 100W and 2000W, and bus voltages of 36V or 50V. More than thirty different panel dimensions are offered, which can be configured into deployable wings with one, two or three panels per wing.
Sparkwing is a product of Airbus Defence and Space Netherlands B.V.