Rocket Lab to Install Solar Panels on NASA’s GLIDE Spacecraft
Rocket Lab will use its Z4J solar cells, which are four-junction, radiation-hardened, germanium-based components. The solar cells will be laid down on carbon composite facesheet panels.
Germanium is used because of its efficiency in converting sunlight to solar energy. Unlike silicon-based wafers that can convert 20 percent of sunlight to energy at most, germanium-based wafers can convert between 28 and 40 percent of sunlight.
SAP development will be done at the company’s facility in Albuquerque, Rocket Lab said Thursday.
The GLIDE spacecraft will launch the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Follow-on Lagrange 1 vehicle, a heliophysics mission that will collect solar wind data and coronal imagery. SWFO-L1, which is also powered by Rocket Lab and built by Ball Aerospace, is designed to support NOAA’s mission to monitor and forecast solar storm activity.
The GLIDE spacecraft is slated for launch in 2025.
NASA chose Ball Aerospace for the GLIDE mission in 2021. The aerospace company used its Ball Configurable Platform, which is a customizable spacecraft that can be used for flexible and cost-effective applications.
Rocket Lab offers launch support, satellite components and spacecraft solutions. It is headquartered in Lakewood, California, and has offices in the U.S. and New Zealand.
Tags: Ball Aerospace contract award GLIDE Global Lyman-Alpha Imager of Dynamic Exosphere NASA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Rocket Lab solar array panel space Space Weather Follow On-Lagrange 1