Solar Energy Crucial To Dragon Success | Aero-News Network
Aero-News Network
RSS icon RSS feed
podcast icon MP3 podcast
Subscribe Aero-News e-mail Newsletter Subscribe

Airborne Unlimited -- Recent Daily Episodes

Episode Date






Airborne On ANN

Airborne 10.24.16

Airborne 10.25.16

Airborne 10.19.16

Airborne 10.20.16

Airborne 10.21.16

Airborne Hi-Def On YouTube

Airborne 10.24.16

Airborne 10.25.16

Airborne 10.19.16

Airborne 10.20.16

Airborne 10.21.16

Wed, Jan 11, 2012

Solar Energy Crucial To Dragon Success

Deployable Solar Arrays Provide Spacecraft's Primary Power

For its first mission to the International Space Station, SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will use deployable solar arrays as its primary power source for running sensors, driving heating and cooling systems, and communicating with SpaceX’s Mission Control Center and the Space Station. Dragon’s solar arrays generate up to 5,000 watts of power -- enough to power over 80 standard light bulbs. The solar arrays, shielded by protective covers during launch, deploy just minutes after Dragon separates from the Falcon 9 second stage, as it heads towards its rendezvous with the Space Station.

Technicians Install Deployable Solar Panels

While many commercial satellites and NASA missions such as the Hubble Space telescope use solar arrays, Dragon will be the first commercial American transport vehicle to do so.

Past American spacecraft like Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle used fuel cells or battery packs. Fuel cells are limited by the amount of chemical reactants (typically oxygen and hydrogen) that the vehicle can carry. Batteries alone are limiting due to their mass and the amount of power they can carry.

Solar energy provides a key benefit -- long-term power. Combining Dragon’s solar arrays with a compact and efficient battery pack provides a reliable and renewable source of power. When in the sun, Dragon’s solar arrays recharge the battery pack, and the charged batteries provide power while Dragon passes through the Earth’s shadow. With solar panels, Dragon will have the power it needs for longer trips, whether to the Space Station or future missions to Mars.

Artist's Concept Dragon Approaching ISS

Dragon’s deployable solar arrays were developed from scratch by a small team of SpaceX engineers. To ensure they will survive the harsh environment of space, our engineers put the solar arrays through hundreds of hours of rigorous testing including thermal, vacuum, vibration, structural and electrical testing.

SpaceX conducts most of these tests in-house. After testing was complete, the solar arrays headed to SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral launch site for final integration. The solar arrays and fairing covers that protect the folded arrays during launch have since been installed on the Dragon spacecraft in preparation for their first flight to the International Space Station. (Images provided by SpaceX)



More News

Airborne 10.24.16: Obnoxious NIMBY Report, Scorpion Jet, AMA Remote Pilot Test

Also: Schiaparelli Probe, Spirit Of Aviation, Bell 429, Commuter Craft, Master Pilot Award, Predator B, Space Debris A new study released by the Mercatus Center at George Mason Uni>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Linx (10.25.16)

Santa Moncia City Council Candidates Sound Of On FAA Battle Recently, the Santa Monica Lookout sent a series of questions to candidates for City Council, one of which dealt with th>[...]

ANN's Daily Aero-Term (10.25.16): Dead Reckoning

Dead reckoning, as applied to flying, is the navigation of an airplane solely by means of computations based on airspeed, course, heading, wind direction, and speed, groundspeed, a>[...]

Aero-News: Quote of the Day (10.25.16)

“The GIV and G450 ushered in a business aviation renaissance that has led to increased safety, greater reliability, better technology and improved performance. It’s fit>[...]

ANN FAQ: Feel The Propwash (Updated)

New Form Makes Subscribing, Unsubscribing Even Easier While we're very proud of our newly-redesigned website, we know that some folks really enjoy the convenience of having their A>[...]

blog comments powered by Disqus





© 2007 - 2016 Web Development & Design by Pauli Systems, LC