The solar arrays are a 20kW-class system that deploys over 18 meters in order to provide energy to the satellite, says Northrop. They will power the OneSat communication satellites in geosynchronous orbit.
The solar array technology features Northrop Grumman’s Compact Telescoping Array (CTA) design, which uses a telescoping boom system to deploy an “accordion-folded” flexible solar array blanket. The design is aimed at missions that require extremely compact stowage volume for spacecraft launch while remaining lightweight. Northrop Grumman states that CTA creates enough space to allow three full spacecraft to be launched on a single rocket.
“The technology used for our solar arrays allows for an efficient launch and is one of our many company-designed advanced components that enable satellites of all classes to perform their missions,” said Frank Bernas, vp of space components and strategic businesses at Northrop Grumman.
The company highlights that its solar array technologies are used to support various commercial and civil space programs. For example, the commercial resupply of the International Space Station through the company’s Cygnus spacecraft, several of its commercial satellites and also NASA’s Insight and Phoenix Mars Landers.
In addition to the arrays, Northrop Grumman will also provide heat pipes, an essential element for payload thermal management, and propellant tanks in support of the mono-propellant propulsion system for OneSat.
The OneSat is a geostationary satellite that will help provide communications services, for example in the aviation connectivity business.
Unlike earlier satellites, designed for single defined missions, OneSat satellites are designed to be reconfigured while in orbit. According to Airbus, it is capable of adjusting its coverage area, capacity and frequency “on the fly” to meet evolving mission scenarios.
Image: Airbus – OneSat satellite
See also: Intelsat signs up for OneSat satellites for inflight internet