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NASA tests flexible solar array on space station

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Over the weekend of June 17-18, 2017, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineers, for the first time tested the effectiveness of a flexible solar array on space station that could be used to power satellites and spacecrafts in future.

About Solar Array and its Benefits:

The Roll-Out Solar Array, or ROSA is an advanced, flexible solar array that rolls out like a tape measure and can be easily adapted to different sizes, including very large arrays, to provide power for a variety of future spacecraft.

  • Traditional solar panels used to power satellites can be bulky with heavy panels folded together using mechanical hinges. The Roll-Out technology makes solar arrays more compact and lighter weight for satellite radio and television, weather forecasting, GPS and other services used on the Earth.
  • As mentioned by NASA engineers, when launching into space, mass and volume are NASA tests flexible solar array on space stationeverything, and ROSA is 20% lighter and four times smaller in volume than rigid panel arrays. It is to be noted that reducing even little mass and volume for the launch can result in huge cost saving.
  • ROSA consists of a centre wing made of a flexible material containing photovoltaic cells to convert light into electricity.

Experiment conducted by NASA Engineers:

  • Over the weekend of June 17-18, 2017, engineers on the ground remotely operated the International Space Station’s robotic Canadarm2 to extract the Roll Out Solar Array (ROSA) experiment from the SpaceX Dragon resupply ship.
  • The experiment will remain attached to the Canadarm2 over seven days to test the effectiveness of ROSA.

Quick Facts about NASA:

  • Formation Year: 1958
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C., US
  • Administrator (Acting): Robert M. Lightfoot Jr.